The world around us is changing rapidly, and it is indeed overwhelming to keep up. Nevertheless, there are some changes that we cross by every day and don’t even notice them.
One such change is the innovative addition of electronic technology into apparel. Also known as wearable technology, these gadgets are becoming more and more common every day.
For example, you can find people wearing smartwatches today more than you’d found half a decade ago. Similarly, t-shirts with integrated LED bulbs are also gaining more traction in the fashion industry.
All in all, these wearable technologies are surely the new fad for lifestyle enthusiasts. But, do you know how these technologies work? Or more importantly, what are the exclusive features of these technologies?
Thankfully, this article is all about it!
What is wearable technology?
In layman’s terms, wearable technology is a class of electronic gadgets. Apparently, these gadgets are either directly or indirectly in contact with skin.
Some of the common examples would include smartwatches, radio-enabled t-shirts, and so on. The most distinguishable feature of wearable technologies is not that they are gadgets; but rather the fact that they lack hard wiring or circuits.
Perhaps, it would be best if you could get to know some of these exclusive features of wearable technologies
Some salient features of wearable technologies
Of course, designing a gadget that could be worn comes with its own set of challenges. However, considering the necessary features that they have, it might be easier understanding how they are made.
Drapable And form-fitting
The very first feature that needs no excessive explanation is Drapability. You know that you can wear your shirt or your pants because they can fit your form. The same is expected from wearable technologies as well. Imagine how difficult it would be to wear your smartphone. Of course, it would be very difficult (maybe in the future engineers and designers could come up with something).
Drapability is achieved in apparels because of the fibrous strands which are used in making yarns. A similar approach is used in making wearable technologies. To put this into perspective, military-grade smart shirts use nanowires to create a smart structure. And you already know the results.
Washable and reusable
When it comes to wearables, essentially, a common feature follows along. Of course, apparels are no longer preferred as use-and-throw objects. Unless, there are some serious health concerns associated, such as with medical aprons.
This would mean that all wearable technologies should be washable or at least should be able to withstand normal splashes. A very good example, from the house of Ellumiglow, is LED tape lights. This tape can be easily sewn into fabrics and does not require any additional wiring setup. Most importantly, it is splash-proof.
Easy integration to any size and shape
The example of splash-proof LED tapes brings us to another indispensable feature of wearable technologies. Notably, if a technology cannot be easily integrated it’s of no economic use.
Whether you’re a designer, a textile manufacturer, or just a DIYer, you’d need something that does not require you to be a scientist. For example, you must already know how you connect a bulb to the wires. But, if you’d be asked to add the same bulb to your hat, you’d run into a conundrum- how to do that?
In short, wearable technologies should be easy to handle and super-easy to integrate with any material.
This brings us to one more feature that all wearable technologies must have- circuit handling. Imagine your phone has all the wires hanging out of the device (although there are no wires inside). It’d not be a pleasing sight.
The same is true with wearable technologies. When electronics are integrated with apparels, circuits become indispensable. But, at the same time, the circuits also need to be small and discreet.
Intelligent data mining
Most important of all is the feature to handle data, regardless of the size. Now, you might be thinking what sort of data would a smart t-shirt be handling? Well, it could be anything from internal commands to smart responses such as temperature modulation.
To put this into perspective, consider you want to integrate a self-illuminating tape into your t-shirt. Now, you might want it to light up whenever the ambient light is low, or simply you enter a dark room. For this feature to work, the wearable or the apparel must collect data. Essentially, this data would be about the luminosity of the surroundings.
There are several similar applications where data handling might be needed for smart wearable technologies. And therefore, this feature is an essential one.
Where can you find these technologies?
This might sound a bit obsessive but many readers often ask this question, so it must be answered.
Well, to begin with, there are many online stores that deal in smart wearables. You can either buy a fully customized product or you can buy parts. Of course, you can customize your own apparel, as you like, with loose parts.
However, you must know that not every seller is the same. So, you need to familiarize yourself with some buying tips to get the best deal.
- First of all, do not go for the cheapest buy you can get. It’s mostly quality compromised.
- Ask your friend Google about the best dealers.
- Look for a licensed seller or retailer.
- Do not hesitate to ask any question, technical or non-technical that you may have.
- Lastly, look for a seller that can provide you with after-sale services.
Undoubtedly, the market for wearable technologies is on the rise. People are more interested in learning about these technologies, and also getting their hands on them. You being here is self-explanatory of the fact that it is on the rise. That being said, we would still recommend that you go through more resources and then decide.
Till then, keep enjoying and looking for that alluring wearable technology that fits your style and taste.