I’ve never been what you might call a “fashion plate.” When I work from home, my go-to wardrobe is essentially graduate-student redux. When I dress up to go out for work, a carefully layered scarf counts as sophisticated. In recent years, however, I’ve made a conscious effort to be more fashionable. Little did I realize just how much technology—and in particular the rise of “smart wearables”—has transformed what we mean by clothing and accessories for an ageing population.
For the uninitiated, “Smart Wearables” are electronic devices incorporated into items that can be comfortably worn on a body. Some, like smart watches, function as extensions of your smart phone, enabling you to send and receive messages, conduct phone calls, or even make online payments. Others, like the seemingly omnipresent Fitbit track things like heart rate, steps taken, or sleep patterns on a real-time basis. I’m a big fan of so-called “smart glasses,” which allow you stream to your Spotify playlist or film videos, all while looking super-trendy. With the rise of smart wearables, fashion, convenience and utility are now all merging into one blended design.
But wearable tech isn’t only about accessories. Smart textiles are garments with microelectronics, biotechnology, AI or sensors woven into the fabric. What’s amazing about this clothing is that it is stretchable, breathable, and even washable, and yet the “tech part” is invisible to the eye. Much like the devices mentioned above, smart clothing can gather, track, and transmit the wearer’s biometric and physical data, such as body temperature, respiration and heart rate.
To put it bluntly, this sh$% is really cool.
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Image: Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash