Monday, 30 November 2009

Assessment 4- The first time I posted this the edges were cut off so here it is again =]

           I found it very intriguing to read both the journal and the book, V.Koncar and F.Boussu, Flexible Displays on Textiles for Personal Protection and X.Tao, Wearable Electronics and Photonics. I loved learning about the new technology that is being researched into. The whole concept of integrating communication technology into fabrics and clothing garments absolutely fascinated me over the course of reading these two texts.

In the journal the process of conception and its main components are introduced using basic definitions of communication apparel. Three different approaches to camouflage fabric creation are developed through innovative communication apparel. New development methods of flexible textile displays are also looked into through out this journal. The author helps the reader understand how small electronic devices can be integrated into a system control LED that are able to light group fibres. Instant access to various patterns and cartoons inside clothing can be obtained through a specific control of the matrix. This new display is explained to have the flexibility to be applied to any field that requires this compact device, namely in the areas of personal flexible displays and camoflague fabric realization.

           V.Koncar and F.Boussu focus on the experimentation of computer and communication technology being integrated into the uniforms of armed and security forces. They explain the future combat wear, for example uniforms may be able to keep soldiers warm, fight off germs and eventually detect and fight chemicals and other dangerous agents. The authors address the future communication methods that soldiers may encounter in the not to near future, fabric keyboards that might unroll from a uniforms pocket or even simply sewn or woven to become part of the sleeve itself. If electronics and optical technologies could be a striking improvement in battlefield communications.

           The author look into and interesting project, carried out in the Apparel Technology and Research Centre California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, called the Battle Uniform Dress. In this project textile fabrics are obtained by weaving optical fibres mixed with other yarns such as cotton, polyester etc. is presented. It also explains how flexible displays can be created on textiles producing a ‘screen matrix’ using the texture of fabric. Possible integrations go from personal displays into clothing to large fabrics that may change colour and pattern.

           The main conclusion to this journal would be that textiles generally have all the basic tools which are suitable to enable the creation of new design and new apparatuses that would eventually lead to new solutions for the development of communicative apparel.

           If we go further into the authors line of reasoning a huge break through would be inflicted on the world of both communication and textile technology. Primarily soldiers would benefit from his research due to the many potential intelligent materials that have yet to be discovered in their field.


Although the journal and the book I have studied further for this assessment hold the same primary concern of intelligent materials and fabrics having a much larger potential in the future than they do in the current time. They both have there own unique routes down this road.


Tunde Kirstein, Didier Cottet, Janusz Grzyb and Gerhard Truster have got together and written about wearable computers and there benefits, for example they are always on which could provide support and could become aware of the users situation may that be health wise (e.g heart monitor) or physically

           Information to take into account during this particular chapter in this book is the look into Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) whose research in the United States has actually achieved body-worn computational resources for soldiers. Wearable computing devices have been predicted to have a future in every day life acting as a general purpose system.

           Mann (1) regards wearable computers as a second brain to humanity and sensory modalities as additional senses increasing human intellect. Mobility is fundamental in services and devices which come into very popular practice in the unlimited potential ideas such as in the field of health, knowledge and entertainment.

           Clothing is a huge part of every environment as it is personal to each and every person. It is there anywhere and anytime but clothing is far from taking its full advantage of potential if clothing had intelligent features that could serve us obtrusively and naturally.

‘Enhance our capabilities without requiring any conscious thought or effort’ (2).

           Wearnet is an example of sensor system that can be attached to the body to provide wearable computers with a wide range of context information (3) which was developed by ETH and Massachusetts institute of technology (MIT). In this experiment it shows two ways of integration, the first is the miniaturization of electronic components and attachment to textiles or the development f textiles with electronic functions. Other experiments that have already taken place would be the clothing that has been designed for the arctic environment such as the Philip jacket (4) and the Lifeshirt (5). Ideas of developing fibres and fabrics have emerged, definitions considers that electronic textile as materials possessing electronic functionality and textile characteristics.

           If textiles had the ability to record, analyze, store, send and display data a new dimension of intelligent high-tech clothing would obviously be reached. The thought of such a discover is beyond belief but the benefit of such and item would unbelievably change technology massively.

           Key secondary sources that have been sited in this article mostly use the first effort to conduct textiles for electrical circuitry, such as how Kallmayer and Griese (6) realized  transponder antenna by weaving conductive fibers into multilayer fabrics. Hum (7) used several short-range fabric antenna coils to create a wireless communication infrastructure between positions on clothing. Antennas can be used to communicate with transponder chips embedded for example in personal items. Another amazing break through that is shown in this book would be the wearable motherboard (8) this consists of plastic optical fibres that can actually detect damage (broken path) in the fabric, this would be very relevant in the armed forces as it would be able to give information of the location of a bullet penetration on a body of even on a larger scale an armed vehicle. The possibilities of integrating fibre optic sensors have great potential. El-Sherif et al (9) have managed to embed fiber optic sensors into soldiers uniform, these sensors are able to detect chemical biological and thermal hazards.

           The authors have also carried out some primary research at ETH Zurich into the work of textile and electrical engineering. The characterization into communication networking in fabrics seemed to maintain their main aim. Then replaced conventional wires and even high-performance circuit boards with textile fabrics. They came to the conclusion from this work that the conductive textiles provide much more than EMI shielding and power supply. New options for interconnections for wearable computers have also been enabled in the research that was carried out during there projects.


           Through out my further study into these two articles, my imaginations was put into full steam with the new information that I had gained by just reading through the articles. The possibilities of intelligent fabrics just amazed me. Originally I wanted to look into the security of handbags for every user but the further I looked into these articles I realized that the communication that could potentially be put into fabrics was just astonishing! I really feel that these studies would defiantly benefit the research field of communicative clothing







(1)               (1) Mann, S ‘Wearable computing; toward humanistic intelligence’. IEEE intelligent systems 2001 May/June

(2)              (2) Mann, S ‘Smart clothing; the shift to wearable computing’ commun Assoc. Computing Machinery, 1996

(3)              (3)Lubowicz P, Buren T V, Junber H, Stager M and Troster G ‘ Wear NET: a distributed multi sensor system for context aware wearables’, In proceedings 4th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, Geiteborg Sweeden 2002 Springer Velag

(4)              (4)‘ICD and wearable Electronics’, published 2000

(5)              (5)Coyle, M ‘ the lifeshirt system: bringing high-tech patient monitoring from hospital to home’ In Proceedings second International Avantex Symposion, Frankfurt, Germany 2002

(6)              (6)Kallmayer, C and Griese H ‘ Fabric-based communication’ Newslett. Micornono Intergration 2002

(7)              (7)Hum A P J ‘Fabric area work- a new wireless communications infrastructure to enable ubiquitous networking and sensing an intelligent clothing’ Computer Networks 2001

(8)              (8)Parks, Mackezie K and Jayaraman S ‘ The wearable motherboard: a framework for personalized mobile information processing (PMIP)’ In Proceedings ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, New Orleans USA 2002

(9)              (9)El-Sherif M A, Yuan J and Maybiarmid A ‘ Fibre optic snesors and smart fabrics’ J.Itelligent mater systems and struct 2000


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