Nerds, I want to make one thing clear: an outfit made out of “smart” textiles isn’t going to turn you into Venom. You’re not going to have amazing athleticism, or immunity to disease just by cloaking your skin in some high-tech clothing. But… you’re going to come pretty damn close.
Venom fan art by ChaseJC.
At the forefront of the innovative textiles movement that could one day imbue us with superhero-ish powers is an organization called the European Center for Innovative Textiles (CETI)—a new research center in Lille, France that is poised to begin researching—and making—some truly freaky, tech-enhanced outfits. Scientists are poised to begin work in January of 2013, and will work on a variety of multi-disciplinary projects spanning the medicinal, environmental, and leisure markets. If successful, these projects have the potential to dramatically improve the quality (and awesomeness) of our everyday lives.
CETI’s headquarters in Lille, France.
Here are all the things your pants could one day do for you…
BE IMMUNE TO VIRUSES AND BACTERIA
A Cornell student models garments coated with smog-busting palladium nanoparticles. Credit: Dr. Hong Dong/Cornell University.
The healthcare and medical market currently has the fastest growing demand for smart textiles, and it’s easy to see why. The creation of filtering fabrics that kill viruses and bacteria would be revolutionary; you won’t even need immunity shots on your next “spiritually-awakening” backpacking trip to India.
TELL YOU THAT YOUR BACKHAND SUCKS
Luke Wilson aka Richie in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums.
CETI is working with sport physiologists to develop flexible monitors woven into two-component fibers that will be able to analyze your performance in a range of sports, and give you gentle coaching advice on how to improve your techniques.
KEEP YOU REAL COOL
Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Gym bunnies, rejoice: clothing made from micro or nano-structured yarns would improve temperature regulation during work-outs by rapidly transferring perspiration outwards and away from skin.
HEAL YOUR WOUNDS
Screenshot from Battlefield 2142.
Fibers that release anti-histamines or anti-coagulants when coming in contact with blood would treat your injuries as soon as you get hurt. CETI even claims that military uniforms of the future will all be outfitted with these precautions.
MONITOR HEAT AND CHEMICALS
Firefighters would benefit most from heat and chemical-monitoring integrated sensors that notify the wearer if either gets too high, allowing them greater security in the middle of crises.
FILTER OUT MUD AND POLLUTANTS
Photograph by Susan Seubert.
Let’s say you decided to fulfill your childhood dream of digging a hole to China. (Or, you know, if you moonlight as a construction worker over the weekends.) “Geotextiles” would keep you safe and squeaky clean by preventing mud and harmful pollutants—like mercury—from contact with your skin.