Screen Printing - February/March 2016 - (Page 18)

Designers Francesca rosella and ryan genz of the CuteCircuit interactive fashion house in London believe "a piece of wearable technology should be a beautiful garment that allows the human body to become an interface." Courtesy of Theodoros Chiliapas. CloThing BeComeS eleCTriC Why screen printers should care about the development of apparel infused with electronic sensors and circuitry. Eileen Fritsch T he Internet of Things (IoT) is taking shape, and the specialty printing industry is very much a part of the evolution. The IoT's ambitious goal is to connect systems, people, and entities to enable us to capture, analyze, and act on information to improve the quality of our lives and make businesses more efficient. It's transforming all sorts of things - factory equipment, home appliances, thermostats, retail stores, and security systems - and in our industry, it's already at work in automating our workflows. Sensors track how much ink, time, and media is used on each print job and send the data to a print MIS for accurate estimating and real-time dynamic scheduling on digital displays. But the IoT is also changing the way fashion designers and apparel manufacturers think about textiles and manufactured garments. Electronically interactive "smart clothing" is expected to be part of the IoT and it could help everyone from infants to the elderly live more safe and healthy lives in the comfort of their own homes. For example: What if technology-infused garments could help doctors reduce hospital stays and improve patient care remotely? What if sensors in apparel could help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in nurseries, concussions on the football field, or casualties in combat? What if your T-shirt could tell the fitness app on your smartphone that you were physically ready to handle more intense workouts? What if a garment punished you with a mild electric shock each time you lied? What if golf gloves could help you monitor and correct your golf swing? What if 18 screenprinting bicycling gloves could light up to display a "turn signal" just like on a car? All of these ideas (and many more) have already been floated either as concepts or prototypes. Within the next few years, everyone who carries a smartphone or other Bluetooth device might be able to use an app to control how a specific garment looks, communicates, or functions. Eventually, we might not need to carry a smartphone at all. Your clothing could transmit data directly to electronics and displays printed on wallcoverings and window films or built into household devices. In theory, the possibilities for wearable technologies seem limited only by designers' imaginations. But in the real world, the commercialization potential of some of these ideas will depend on two things: The ability to create durable, washable, and reliable low-power electrical components that can be safely and comfortably worn close to the skin; and the ability to produce smart textiles and clothing at prices that everyone can afford. Why Screen Printers Should Pay Attention According to the emerging technologies research firm IDTechEx (, the market for wearable technology will grow from $24 billion today to more than $70 billion in 2025. But the term "wearable technology" means different things to different people. The market today consists primarily of non-washable objects such as wristwatches, fitness trackers, earphones, and medical devices like EKG, EEG, and blood glucose sensors. Newer wearables include virtual reality

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - February/March 2016

Screen Printing - February/March 2016
Editorial Insights
Pressing Issues
New Products
Are You Confused about CPSIA Regulations?
Clothing Becomes Electric
The Power of Pigment
Understanding the Garment: Selection, Testing, and Prep
Distributor/Dealer Directory
Ad Index
Who’s in Charge here?

Screen Printing - February/March 2016