Opinion - Wearable Technology in Clothing Design
With a background in Business Management, Logistics and having attended postsecondary school for Fashion Design, I am adept at research, critical thinking, and…I have an insatiable love of science fiction! This is an exploratory blog, from a personal point of view, and purely for fun!
The advancements in wearable technology have been steady and continuous with augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) setting the stage as main players. We currently find ourselves in a new environment, physically and mentally and MR has many advantages to assist interconnectivity in a world forced to be socially distant. Smart fabrics, interactive or intelligent textiles can sense changes in the environment. These fabrics will respond reactively or passively to the platforms that have been set up for them. Wearable clothing that can be used with smartphones to change patterns and colour are already on the market and taking it one step further- haptic suits and gloves. Haptic technology allows the wearer to feel the virtual environment that they are immersed in, giving a bonus for gamers and users all over the world.
With wearable textile technology currently on the market, such as NadiX, yoga pants with haptic feedback, Neviano Swimsuits, having developed their UV sensor and Visuar, which lets the user display a 3D animation of whatever they want on each item of clothing. There are many potential advantages to bringing the sense of touch to wearable tech, as well as the possibilities of using wide swaths of sensors that could be contained within the wearable tech fabric.
We can see how wearable technology is very much being used in VR, AR and our everyday lives. But what about MR? MR allows the user to immerse themselves in both the real world and virtual, simultaneously. Using technology such as smart/intelligent clothing, smart products in conjunction with separate senses can take the user experience to one that is full-bodied and multi-sensory.
A practical application for wearable technology using MR would be ideal for retail departments using E-commerce fashion as a way to support these businesses remotely. Imagine trying on clothing, in real-time from an off-site location while interacting with a live assistant. This is only one of the many solutions presented with MR and wearable technology in fabrics. Mixed Reality, when used properly, is a way to achieve a deeper level of connection while remaining physically distant. Manufacturers and designers will need user-friendly products that are streamlined, and that will meet the needs of the consumer to see MR move from fringe to ubiquitous use.