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.
Why screen printers should care
about the development of apparel infused
with electronic sensors and circuitry.
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
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 (idtechex.com), 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
Are You Confused about CPSIA Regulations?
Clothing Becomes Electric
The Power of Pigment
Understanding the Garment: Selection, Testing, and Prep
Who’s in Charge here?
Screen Printing - February/March 2016