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When We Clothe Ourselves in Connectivity | Multimedia Features

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When We Clothe Ourselves in Connectivity Posted on March 12, 2011 by admin

Many youngsters today run around in gym shoes that light up as they walk. There are novelty costume items that blink or flash until their batteries wear out. But when will our clothes connect us to the Internet so that a shirt is really a “working partner?� At MIT, some designers ave added circuits and sewing machines to make fashions that are smart. For years the textile industry has been weaving metallic yarns into fabrics for decorative purposes. The first conductive fabric we explored was silk organza which contains two types of fibers, as seen in Figure 1. On the warp is a plain silk thread. Running in the other direction on the weft is a silk thread wrapped in thin copper foil. This metallic yarn is prepared just like cloth-core telephone wire, and is highly conductive. The silk fiber core has a high tensile strength and can withstand high temperatures, allowing the yarn to be sewn or embroidered with industrial machinery. The spacing between these fibers also permits them to be individually addressed, so a strip of this fabric can function like a ribbon cable. This sort of cloth has been woven in India for at least a century, for ornamental purposes, using silver, gold, and other metals. Wearable computers are one trend, but clothes that can connect are on the horizon. What about robotic microcontrollers for textiles? Related articles

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When We Clothe Ourselves in Connectivity | Multimedia Features

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