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How smart is your fabric?


The answer could soon be very, thanks to MIT researchers.

Electronic devices in clothes could become more commonplace from next year, after the development of what are called optoelectronic diodes, which have been successfully woven ‘into soft, washable fabrics and made into communication systems’ at a mill in South Carolina.


“It is already allowing us to expand the fundamental capabilities of fabrics to encompass communications, lighting, physiological monitoring, and more. In the years ahead fabrics will deliver value-added services and will no longer just be selected for aesthetics and comfort,” said Yoel Fink, an MIT professor.


Fink said commercial products incorporating this technology will be reaching the marketplace as early as next year, in commercial and safety products in the first instance.

“It’s going to be the first fabric communication system. We are right now in the process of transitioning the technology to domestic manufacturers and industry at an unprecedented speed and scale,” he added.

The research was published this week in the journal Nature.

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