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Smart Textiles – The Future of Fabric

Smart textiles are fabrics that enable digital components and electronics to be embedded in them. They provide the wearer with increased functionality by sensing and reacting to environmental conditions or stimuli, such as those from mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical, magnetic or other sources. 

What makes these fabrics extraordinary is that they have the ability to do many things that traditional fabrics cannot, including communicate, transform, and conduct energy. They are different from wearables in that the focus is on the integration of electronic components with the fabric. They may be used for non-wearable applications as well.

Smart textiles are of two types – aesthetic and performance enhancing. Examples of aesthetic smart textiles include fabrics that light up to specific stimuli or fabrics that can change color. Some of these fabrics gather energy from the environment by harnessing vibrations, sound or heat. Performance enhancing smart textiles are intended for use in athletic, extreme sports, and military applications. Typical applications in this case are fabrics designed to regulate body temperature, reduce wind resistance, and control muscle vibration.

According to a research report by IDTechEx, the market for smart textiles will approach US $5
billion in product revenue by 2027. The following IP landscape report provides insights into the currently active patents addressing the technologies and applications related to Smart Textiles.

View the full report here.