Do you know what smart fabric is? It is a smart materials, that can have its properties changed by an external stimulation, such as stress, temperature, humidity, etc. Such materials can “think”, interact, do small tasks or carry information on them. It is a growing market. Check out the smart fabric conference site.
Research on Smart Fabric Technology is growing rapidly and new products are expected to be available soon. We are having a series of talks about it here at the FutureCenter, and some very interesting ideas have come up. I am particularly interested in researching about the transmission of information through materials, specially the translation of emotions.
How are you today? It is a question your shirt may ask you someday; you may not answer it, but nevertheless it will sure know how you are truly feeling. If you are feeling cold, it could warm itself up, or if you are nervous it may vibrate like a massage to calm you down. It is a new step towards the interaction with materials that surrond us.
The applications for the smart materials have just begun.
Also, you could exchange data and feelings with others, close or far away throughout smart materials. One of the first experiments is the Hug Jacket, a jacket that activates itself by the contact of a hug.
It might be a good excuse to start hugging people anyway. But the exchange of information could become really useful when you meet people you need to say something to, but keep on forgetting. Spread out the news, like an event or an important meeting just by shaking hands, sending out medical readings or just letting them know how you feel.