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From smart suits, capable of powering the Kiwi online casino, to designer dresses that give unwanted attention the boot. Smart clothing is taking wearable tech to all-new heights… and you and I stand to benefit. Here is how fashion technology is optimising everything we do.
Smart clothing is conventional clothing featuring integrated electronic devices wirelessly connected to a smartphone. The most rudimentary form of smart clothing has clip-on sensors to detect and record biometric data – and sending the accumulated information to a paired mobile app.
The more sophisticated smart apparel is manufactured from advanced fibres with sensory hardware built-in. These sensors can track everything – from heart rate and body temperature to the wearer’s mood, simply by reacting to the electrical impulses of the body.
Smart haute couture can even communicate mood changes to bystanders within the wearer’s immediate vicinity… and the message is not necessarily ‘come hither’.
A sensory cocktail dress designed by an innovative young Dutch designer is a prime example. A series of bright flashing lights – triggered by sudden changes in the body’s biometric indicators – are a sign that the wearer’s personal space has been invaded… and it’s best to back off!
Today’s clever couture is effectively a collaboration of a number of cutting-edge technological and scientific fields – microelectronics, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology and textile engineering.
All these fields are combined to develop everyday items – like socks, jackets, business suits, cocktail dresses and tee-shirts – with the kind of functionality that is more space age Sci-Fi than 21st century.
In essence, smart clothing is the wardrobe equivalent of a futuristic Springbok Casino, where AI enabled personalised online gaming is already at an advanced stage of development.
The more ubiquitous items of smart clothing are already sold at high street boutiques, retail stores, sporting apparel and equipment outlets and e-commerce platforms world-wide. Yep, this is not something in conceptual stages – it’s real and it’s out there!
Businessmen, with plenty of cash to splash around, can purchase pretty natty business suits. This all-new type of formal business attire can activate and de-activate smartphones, swop digital business cards, interact with connected devices and send alerts and reminders for upcoming meetings and events.
As an enthusiastic beach goer, you can now invest in a bikini or pair of board shorts with the inherent capabilities to protect you from the sun. How does a scanty swimsuit manage to do that?
Waterproof sensors are embedded in the costume material to do just one thing – consistently measure the ambient UV levels. When the ultra-violet light reaches a level deemed to be harmful to the human skin, an alert is sent to your device.
Then it is time to apply more sunblock or head for the shade of the beach umbrella… and play online slots at the best Kiwi online casino instead!
Runners are maximising their athletic performance by wearing socks manufactured from advanced textiles infused with smart sensors. These microelectronic devices deliver accurate real-time data on average speed, calories burnt, distance covered, altitude reached and number of steps generated.
They also track more complex stuff like impact, cadence and foot landing technique. Using the recorded data, the AI-enabled system can identify whether the wearer has a particular running style that is prone to injury.
If that is not awesome enough, a paired mobile app is leveraged to provide real-time coaching via audio clips. The idea is to help the athlete improve his or her running style, all whilst on the road.
Now, that is smart – almost as smart as our Kiwi online casino with its multiple channels, enhanced functionality and infinite selection of RTG developed Springbok Casino games!
Talking about our Kiwi online casino, a New Zealand based start-up has developed wearable items that use in-built vibration technology to accelerate recovery after exercise. What the techies have come up with is smart sports apparel integrated with vibratory techniques commonly used in physiotherapy.
The big plus is athletes don’t have to go to the therapist, or do anything much at all – other than chill out as the intense focused vibration reduces joint pain, stimulates blood flow, massages muscles and enhances agility and flexibility in the affected areas of the body.
What are the current trends driving the development of better, more advanced and more functional smart clothing?
One of the key stumbling blocks affecting the nascent industry is the question of power supply. As with electric vehicles, smart clothing relies on lithium-ion batteries to power up the sensors, microelectronics and paired devices required to deliver the ‘smart’ experience.
As you are no doubt aware, batteries need constant charging, as is evident from the EV charging stations popping up across South Africa. Plugging in to a power pack multiple times a day is not the most convenient way of maintaining smart functionality in clothing.
As a result, the next major challenge is finding an alternative power source… and there has already been some interesting developments on that score.
One particularly promising solution is thermoelectric textiles – fabrics and fibres integrated with high performance inorganic semiconductors that can produce electricity from the wearer’s body heat or movement.
What that effectively means is energy can be harvested from the human body and transformed into a power source capable of charging the embedded electronics.
Just think… Players at Springbok Casino will soon be able to charge their gaming devices using nothing more than a few sashays around the room. Never-ending sessions at our Kiwi online casino are about to become reality… yay!
Another area of concern is the longevity, or lack thereof, of smart functionality due to constant washing and wearing of clothing items. Here again, science has come up with an answer – nanoparticles.
These extra fine particles are already used in the manufacture of a number of consumer goods like crack-resistant paints, self-cleaning windows and scratchproof sunglasses and spectacles.
By coating smart clothing textiles with nanoparticles, the lifespan and efficacy of smart clothing is maximised. Not only do nanoparticles increase the durability of fabric, they add a gamut of properties to the fibres to strengthen and protect them from bacteria, UV rays and water damage.
The smart clothing revolution is only just beginning, but the potential applications are endless – in the medical field, the construction industry, the military – and high fashion too!
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