Intelligent Textiles

Oct 23, 2007 | Contact Author | By: Rachel Chapman
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Title: Intelligent Textiles
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At the recently held Textile International Forum and Exhibition (TIFE), the "extreme sports" pavilion featured high-tech textiles that focus on bio-monitoring of the body. Among the latest offerings was electrocardiogram (ECG) bikewear, created with a textile-based physiological monitor technology capable of tracking heart rate, exercise effectiveness, calories burned and more, which, according to the China Post, can be viewed with devices such as PDAs, wrist watches or cell phones--and works on blue tooth and wireless technology. Thus far, these functional textiles run on batteries but plans are underway to integrate solar energy into the products; such technologies could appear in one to two years, reported the China Post.

The event, organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and hosted by associated national institutions such as the Taiwan Textile Research Institute (TTRI) and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), aimed to promote international collaboration among textile industries.

Could intelligent textiles such as these find application in personal care? Apparently, they already are. Featured on the TTRI Web site, several textile innovations have been designed to function in: moisture management, skin protection and conditioning, and time release. 

For example, one textile is described as being printed with, "aromatic microcapsules [that] can release aroma continuously." The effect of multi-colored blotches on the fabric reportedly can be achieved with the application of disperse dye microcapsulation in one screen printing process. This microcapsulation can release skin treatments or essence continuously to provide benefits such as skin protection and conditioning. For more information, visit the TTRI Web site at: http://www.ttri.org.tw/english/english-ttri.html.

It happens all the time--textile, paint and coatings, medical, health and wellness, pharmaceutical, nutrition, etc., innovations make their way into personal care (and vice-versa). Could the next summer clothing line provide inherent UVA/UVB protection? Or that favorite pair of blue jeans incorporate anti-cellulite actives?

-Rachel Chapman, C&T magazine