Tuesday, December 11, 2007

...do oft proclaim the man

Polonius didn't know the half of it:
Exciting progress in the booming, intelligent clothing and textiles industry means mobile-phone shirts (just speak into the collar) and socks that mend themselves could soon be a reality.

Meanwhile, iPod-playing suits and clothes that change size and shape to fit the wearer are already here.

Such garments are set to become part of our daily wardrobes as advances in smart fabrics mean our clothes will do more than just preserve our modesty, protect us from the elements, or, for some of us, make a fashion statement.

In recent years, smart clothing has progressed significantly from wearable computers - where devices such as MP3 players or mobile phones are seamlessly integrated into clothing - to "intelligent" fabrics and clothes that can conduct electricity, change shape and even colour.

"The world is your oyster when it comes to the sorts of things you can do with clothing and technology. You're only limited by your imagination, really," says Dr Adam Best, a research scientist at the CSIRO division of energy technology, who has developed a shirt that produces electricity simply by being moved, such as when the wearer is walking.

The power shirts - or flexible, integrated-energy devices - are basically wearable batteries that charge whenever the person moves.

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