How many different types of clothes are on the market right now? How do designers come up with clothes that people want to wear on a daily basis?
The purpose of clothes is generally to protect our bodies from the elements and maintain social dignity. But can the fabrics that make up our clothes do more? What if they could even make our lives easier or safer?
Smart textiles (or E-textiles) can be the answer to these questions. There are two types: passive smart textiles and active smart textiles. Read on to learn the difference between them and the applications of both kinds.
Passive Smart Textiles
When you hear the word smart, you probably think of items that are wifi-enabled. This might be a television or even a lightbulb. But smart technology doesn’t always need an internet connection.
Passive smart textiles are a good example of this. These fabrics have functions beyond what you would normally expect clothing to do. However, they do not use electronics or internet connection at all.
This also means that these fabrics don’t contain sensors or wires. They do not need to change because of the conditions around them. All you need to do is wear a piece of clothing made with a passive smart textile and know that it is working.
Active Smart Textiles
On the other hand, active smart textiles are closer to what you probably think of when you talk about smart technology. These fabrics will actually change to adjust the conditions of the wearer. Some can even connect to apps and computer software.
In other words, these fabrics actively do something to make the wearer’s life more comfortable or convenient, rather than the fabric itself being what makes it smart as a passive smart textile does.
Application of Smart Textiles
There are many great uses for smart textiles right now. However, because of the differences between passive and active smart textiles, these applications will also differ between the two of them.
Passive Smart Textiles
A passive smart textile’s functions are going to be much simpler than those of an active smart textile. This is because the state of the fabric will never actually change. There are no electronics involved in these fabrics whatsoever.
This means that all of its functions will allow it to remain in a static state the entire time it’s worn.
On the topic of static, preventing static cling is one function that passive smart textiles can have. There’s nothing more frustrating than pulling laundry out of the dryer to find out it’s all stuck together by static cling. Anti-static textiles can help reduce this effect.
You might also have anti-microbial textiles. These fabrics aim to reduce how often you get sick by preventing viruses and bacteria from remaining on your clothes. This helps promote the health and well-being of the wearer.
Another way to promote health and well-being is by protecting yourself from harmful UV rays. This can help prevent sunburns and skin cancer. And this is also a function that passive smart textiles can have.
Active Smart Textiles
The applications of active smart textiles can be much more varied. This is because there are many different ways that these fabrics can be changed and adjusted.
First of all, the healthcare industry may find some of these fabrics useful. Smart textiles can monitor a patient’s heart rate, for example. This can alert nurses to any potential problems earlier enough to help.
The military can also use some of these fabrics. They can use wires integrated into the fabric to transport data from one place to another quickly. This means that military strategies can be updated in real-time.
They can also be used for disaster relief. Some of these textiles can be used as power sources for housing during natural disasters. This means that no matter what happens, people will have a warm place to stay.
Finally, these fabrics can also be connected to the internet. This can help tell you all sorts of things like heart rate and blood pressure right on your smartphone. But it can also be used for fun activities, such as gaming.
Designing with Smart Textiles
Clearly, there’s a lot that can be done with both kinds of these fabrics right now. And they can be designed in many different ways. So how do you choose the right smart textiles for designers?
First, you want to think about what kind of fabric you want to use. Think about what you’re trying to make. Is it a light shirt or a heavy coat? You also need to decide what you want the garment to look like. What kind of person might wear it? Where would someone wear it and why? This will determine the base of your smart textiles.
Next, what do you want this fabric to do? Will it be used for video games or for protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays? This will help you decide if you need a passive or active smart textile. Are you trying to create new garments to be used in the medical field? Or are you trying to help the average person regulate their body temperature?
All of these are the important questions you should be asking yourself as you design your smart clothes. It’s often best to have a design in mind before you shop for smart textiles, so an expert can help you get what you need.
Start Using Smart Textiles Today
There are a lot of benefits to using both active and passive smart textiles to make clothing. People want clothes that are both comfortable and unique. Certain fields could use these textiles to assist them with their everyday work.
The best place to get them is right here at OTEX Specialty Narrow Fabrics. We have a wide selection of smart textiles for whatever you want to make next for your customers. And our experts are here to help you find the right fabric choices right now.
Contact us today and see how we can help you with your next design.