Researchers at MIT have introduced a digital structure. The fibers embedded in the shirt can detect, store, extract, analyze and convey useful information and data, including body temperature and physical activity. So far, electronic fibers have been simulated. “This work is the first to realize a fabric that can store and process data digitally, add a new dimension of information content to the textile, and allow verbatim programming of the fabric,” said Yoel Fink, the senior author of the study.
The research was conducted in close collaboration with the Textile Department of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and was led by Professor Anais Missakian.
This polymer fiber is made of hundreds of square silicon micro-digital chips. It is thin and flexible enough to pierce needles, sew into fabrics, and withstand at least 10 washes.
Digital optical fiber can store large amounts of data in memory. Researchers can write, store, and read data on the optical fiber, including a 767 kb full-color video file and a 0.48 MB music file. The data can be stored for two months in case of power failure. The optical fiber has approximately 1,650 connected neural networks. As part of the study, digital fibers were stitched to the armpits of participants’ shirts, and the digital clothing measured body surface temperature for approximately 270 minutes. Digital optical fiber can identify which activities the person wearing it has participated in with 96% accuracy.
The combination of analytical capabilities and fiber has the potential for further applications: it can monitor real-time health problems, such as a drop in oxygen levels or pulse rate; warnings about breathing problems; and artificial intelligence-based clothing that can provide athletes with information on how to improve their performance and Suggestions to reduce the chance of injury (think Sensoria Fitness). Sensoria offers a full range of smart clothing to provide real-time health and fitness data to improve performance. Since the fiber is controlled by a small external device, the next step for the researchers will be to develop a microchip that can be embedded in the fiber itself.
Recently, Nihaal Singh, a student of KJ Somaiya College of Engineering, developed a Cov-tech ventilation system (to maintain body temperature) for the doctor’s PPE kit. Smart clothing has also entered the fields of sportswear, health clothing and national defense. In addition, it is estimated that by 2024 or 2025, the annual scale of the global smart clothing/fabric market will exceed USD 5 billion.
The timetable for artificial intelligence fabrics is shortening. In the future, such fabrics will use specially constructed ML algorithms to discover and gain new insights into potential biological patterns and help evaluate health indicators in real time.
This research was supported by the US Army Research Office, the US Army Soldier Nanotechnology Institute, the National Science Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ocean Fund and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Post time: Jun-09-2021