A team of the Applied NanoBioscience Center at Arizona State University has built prototypes of biometric bodysuits. They can detect chemical attacks, deliver drugs to their wearers, or even perfume scents if your body temperature rises too much. The military version of the Scentsory Chameleon Bodysuit incorporates fuel cells to provide a lightweight source of power for the soldier's equipment. The civilian one can monitor your heart or blood pressure, deliver interactive games or simply work as a wearable computer. You will even be able to download new colors and patterns from the Web to change your appearance according to this article from East Valley Tribune in Arizona. Both versions should reach the market within a few years.
Frederic Zenhausern, director of the Applied NanoBioscience Center at ASU, has joined with Ghassan Jabbour, a professor at the University of Arizona, to develop two prototypes of "biometric bodysuits" that contain embedded sensors, power sources, microfluidic devices and other gadgets not normally associated with the latest Paris fashions.
Such "smart" clothing could give future soldiers early warning of chemical attacks or automatically deliver insulin to diabetics, Zenhausern said.
"The biometric bodysuit shows how electronics and fluidics can be incorporated into clothing to perform a wide range of tasks, from highly functional to the aesthetic," he said.
||Here is a photograph of the military version of the Chameleon biometric bodysuit taken by I4U News during the Wired's Nextfest 2004 held last May in San Francisco.|
The civilian Chameleon will have somewhat different characteristics.
[This] biometric outfit demonstrates how miniature electronics could be embedded in clothing to promote health. It is made of clear vinyl and white plastics to show the placement of various electronic and fluidic devices. In the future, such an outfit could diagnose diseases and deliver medications to the wearer, monitor heart rate or blood pressure, deliver interactive games and other forms of entertainment or function as a wearable computer.
Another possibility would be to download different designs from the Internet so the fabric could change colors and patterns, Zenhausern said. And it could all be made to look stylish by blending the electronics with high-fashion designs, he said.
When can we expect this new fashion in a store near us?
Dr. James Canton, chief executive of the Institute for Global Futures in San Francisco, said biometric clothing could reach the market in a few years. He said Levi Strauss & Co. already produces clothes with a nanotech coating that resists stains.
Biometric clothes are likely to be adopted first by the military, but personal security concerns could move it quickly to the civilian market, he said.
But for a longer term future, think about buildings.
The concept of embedding microelectronics in fabrics has potential far beyond clothing. Sheila Kennedy, a Boston-based architect and visiting professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, sees possibilities for the technology in building design. As an example, she said window shades containing organic light emitting diodes could produce electricity from sunlight that would help generate power.
For additional information, the concept of the Scentsory Chameleon Bodysuit has also been reviewed by News-Medical.Net and Technovelgy.com in May 2004.
Sources: Ed Taylor, East Valley Tribune, June 1, 2004; and various websites