Latest Developments in Smart Garments

For the last few years, there has been some tremendous improvement in wearable technology compacting it to a point where they can be integrated with a garment without compromising its properties. This has led to a new breed of garment named ‘smart garment’. In this post, we are going to look upon some of the latest developments in the smart garment field and in wearable technology to some extent.

What is a smart garment?

Smart garment or smart clothing is a kind of apparel comprising of fabric that has digital components embedded into them along with a power source. The digital components comprise of sensors, micro-computers, and physical components. which on proper integration adds value to the garment. These additions make the garment capable of functions which a traditional garment cannot, allowing it to communicate, transform, conduct energy, glow etc.

To know about the development, we need to look on the categories on which smart garments have been classified.
  1. Aesthetics enhancing which changes the external look of the garment based on the sensors used 
  2. Performance enhancing which are intended to assist performance by collecting and analyzing data from the various sensors used. 

Latest smart garments and their applications

Smart garments being the future of technology are going to have a major impact on our day-to-day life with its vast applications. Touching just the tip of the iceberg, some of the different developments in this technology are as follows.

1. The B.B Suit from Akkersdijk became the pioneer in smart garment with embedded and wire running through the garment. It serves as its own communication platform similar to that of a smartphone and a computer with WiFi access point, GPS Tracker, a crowd sourced playlist along with a battery pack.

B.B Suit from Akkersdijk

2. Wearable X’s Nadi X smart yoga pants comes with a built-in haptic vibration that gently pulses at various body parts to guide the wearer about the various positions. The vibrations are controlled from an application for synchronized control.

3. Levi’s Commuter Tucker Jacket from Google’s Jacquard Platform allows the user to interact with a variety of services including music and map apps through touch and gesture sensitive area.

4. Hexoskin’s smart shirt is laced with sensors like heart rate monitor, accelerometer etc which provide real-time data and is synced with a companion app which provides insights on workout intensity and recovery, calories burned, fatigue level, sleep quality etc.
image source:

5. Athleisure from Athos are equipped with micro EMG-sensors woven into the fabric which are able to detect muscle movement and keep a track of it through a mobile application. It can also detect muscle effort, heart rate, breathing with special workout guide through the app.
Image Source: Athos
6. Samsung’s has also invested in smart garment with brand The Human Fit which has products like Body Compass workout shirt which monitors biometric data, a golf shirt with weather and UV monitoring system, a NFC smart suit with collaboration from Rogatis provides NFC(Near Field Communication) functionalities with Samsung Pay for payment.

Samsung's NFC Suit
7. Ralph Laurel’s Parka and Bomber Jacket for the American Olympic Team uses heat conducting ink to generate warmth like a electric blanket. This technology can be incorporated into socks, gloves, caps etc.

8. LED clothing has become a new trend in fashion with use in extra-modern show and performance. Micro LEDs are embedded into garments with dynamic lighting effect are able to create unique design of any complexity. It can also be coupled with various sensors to display information generally through mobile application.

Image source: Broadcastwear

9. University of Bristol is working on soft robotic clothing that will work as support to the wearer during laborious work providing bionic strength needed.

10. Smart clothing has also integrated into military which comprises of sensory detecting physiological entities like muscle engagement, blood oxygenation, body temperature, blood pressure; kinetic entities like steps, pressure, acceleration, GPS etc and agent detection which are able to measure things such as radiation, chemicals, viruses etc.

Future of smart garments

With a growth in wearable technology, the market has been estimated to be about $45 billion by the end of 2021 with a 47% increase as that of in 2017 (SNS Telecom &IT). It has been able to make a wearable technology ecosystem with the ability to interlink all the aspects of modern necessity in consumer, healthcare, professional sports, retail & hospitality, military, public safety etc thus forming the future as we speak.

Article reference

Soumyadeep Saha

Soumyadeep Saha holds a Master's Degree in Fashion Technology from NIFT, New Delhi. He is also a graduate in apparel production. His area of interest includes Quality Assurance and technology implementations in Apparel Production.

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