Imagine a dress that changes shape or color in response to movement and mood. Imagine a shirt capable of capturing the energy from human movement and then using it to charge your iPhone. Imagine a suit that preserves a comfortable or loose fit depending on whether you ate too much for lunch while maintaining its perfect shape and cut.
Researchers are designing computerized fabrics with embedded sensors and electrical connections within the fabric that could soon be able to read our minds and bodies. As fashion collides with wearable technology, what we wear will most likely be transformed in surprising and complex ways. Clothes of the future could have built-in GPS, clothing-integrated baby breathing monitors, weather detectors and even pinpoint massagers for areas of stress.
Even undergarments are fair game. There is currently a project underway developing smart underwear for the U.S. Army. Sensors within the fabric are designed to monitor heart rate, temperature and posture and relay it to a central system thereby allowing commanders to monitor combat and train and identify healthy soldiers.
In addition to monitoring medical issues, intelligent clothes may act as coaches anticipating the wearer's wants and needs and perhaps even nudging the wearer in a different direction. Just imagine your belt tightening as you approach the dessert buffet.
As designer Betsey Johnson once said, "I think designers, if they're called designers, will have to be scientists in the future."
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