2 min reading time
Story 080 – 2040 – People Innovation Business model

Smart Shirt – a second skin with intelligence

Intelligent fabric for new designs

What can intelligent clothing provide? What is it supposed to achieve? And what multifunctional innovations are conceivable for textiles? After the year 2000, isolated ideas of multifunctional clothing developed. But only 40 years later did a new textile era dawn.

Clothing serves primarily as heat insulation and privacy screen. In addition, there is sometimes an attractive design that gives us individuality. That's how it was in 2020.

Now, twenty years later, in 2040, intelligent garments are seen much more often, incorporating solar panels, batteries, spotlights, ambient lights, air conditioning, antennas, and health sensors.

Such intelligent clothing with special organic-flexible textile surfaces can generate and store energy from light and heat. Innovative dry-matter batteries store electrical energy potential in the finest textile threads. A few minutes of sunlight are enough to operate an "fcom", a flexible smartphone. But the energy can also be used to cool or heat the entire garment. Sensors at various points continuously provide real-time data on interior and outdoor temperatures as well as humidity and perspiration. Special interwoven threads based on complex metal alloys make it possible to create a pleasant climate within the whole garment. A CPU in each garment controls and automatically finds an optimum balance based on historical values, current sensor values and weather data evaluation.

In addition, the textile surfaces are coated with modern metal oxides, which enable cleaning by sunlight in just a few seconds. Dirt no longer sticks, but inevitably falls off during movement. The containment of the electronics in the textile fibres protects them, even if the garment is to be cleaned.

Thanks to its special organic-flexible textile surface and novel dry cell batteries, this type of intelligent clothing can generate and store energy from light as well as heat and thus even operate a flexible smartphone within a few minutes charging time.

A further aspect, which was already introduced in 2038, is safety in the dark. Small interwoven LED-like spotlights provide minimal illumination in all directions. The discreet and subtle light sources can turn to full power in a matter of seconds at dusk and at night, for example when sensors measure that the wearer’s pulse increases or if the wearer activates them.

In 2040, work is being done on textile display threads. These contain activatable luminous pixels, which only shine dimly and will be controllable like a display. This allows targeted fabric designs to be displayed and fabrics no longer have to be printed in colour beforehand. In addition, these fabric designs can reveal current emotions and thus communicate with their surroundings - or simply represent the latest designs of well-known labels.