UK: TECHKNOW - The people and products shaping your future - Things to come ... PUTTING IT ON.

UK: TECHKNOW - The people and products shaping your future - Things to come ... PUTTING IT ON. - Laptop computers and organisers already look bulky compared with the latest sleek mobile phones. So how long before IT sinks further out of sight - if not un

by JAMES WOUDHUYSEN.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Laptop computers and organisers already look bulky compared with the latest sleek mobile phones. So how long before IT sinks further out of sight - if not under the skin, perhaps into clothing?

Of the 15,000 web entries on 'wearable media' listed by MIT's Media Lab, only a few describe IT you can drape over yourself. Yet as the Lab's Rehmi Post and Maggie Orth point out, it's simple to sew resistors and capacitors on to exotic fabrics such as silk organza or to solder on sensors, buttons and switches. Just a short step away are computer keyboards and music synthesisers made up as embroidered quilts.

At its base in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, ElectroTextiles incorporates conductive fibres into fabrics so that mobile phones can be built into ties, for example.

And near Southport, Gorix spins weaves and bakes a highly conductive polymeric fibre, polyacrylonitrile, which works as a heating element to warm climbing boots and diving suits - and is smart enough never to overheat.

JamesWoudhuysen james.w@seymourpowell.co.uk.

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