Fashion today is not just about clothing anymore; it is about class, attitude, emotions, and wait for its “Technology”. We, humans, have always looked for ways to make our lives simpler, easier & efficient; in that process, we have made things serve more purposes than it was expected to serve before.
Smart Textiles are technologically enabled textiles as opposed to that common fabric that we use in our daily lives. Textiles incorporated with optical fibres or sensors, clothes that can change behavior by allowing the air to pass through it in Summer and blocking it in winters are some examples of Smart Textiles. The possibilities with Smart Textiles are just endless.
Textiles means Fashion and when it meets Technology, can be categorised in Aesthetics Smart Textiles & Performance Enhancing Smart Textiles. Aesthetics Smart Textiles have in interactive edlement to them that reacts to the surrounding environment. We may have seent the T-Shirt with a picture that glows up in the dark or it the garment changes its color with the change in climate. Fashion Designers have already started incorporating the techniques & materials to create a line of smart materials. Performance Enhancing is where Smart Textiles excel in terms of the functionalities they can provide. Temperature regulation, Water Resistance, Blocking Radiations, Muscle Vibration control & minimizing the effects of Space travel are some purposes for which Performance Enhancing smart textiles can provide a solution.
Smart Textiles are evolving with the Technlogy Generation. Passive or the First-Generation Smart Textiles comprises only sensors. Fabrics with optical sensors, UV Protection clothing, etc. comes under Passive Smart Textiles. Then it comes to Active or the Second-Generation Smart Textiles comprises sensors and actuators that help them in receiving the data and then use that data to alter their functionality. A garment that is keeping you warm in winter starts to keep you comfortable when the weather changes to summer. Ultra Smart or the Third-Generation Smart Textiles are a more advanced version of Smart Textiles. What makes them Ultra Smart is the micro-chip installed into these that acts like a microcomputer. They adapt their behavior to the circumstances. Spacesuits, Wearable computers, Musical Jackets, etc. come under this category of Ultra Smart Textiles.