Cutting-edge fibers turn doormats and other fabrics into smart textiles. Like tablecloths that can switch off Wi-Fi.
The use of conductive fibers with sensory functionalities in the weaving process is what turns normal fabrics into smart textiles. These intelligent fabrics can be imbued with any number of features, such as the ability to sense changes in pressure or tension, transform their shape and color, or respond to electrostatic change.
But what is this technology good for?
In the field of telecommunications, smart fabrics can open the door to interesting scenarios such as:
- tablecloths that switch off Wi-Fi to make evening meals a smartphone- and laptop-free experience,
- doormats that can sense when someone enters or leaves the house and switch the Wi-Fi on or off accordingly,
- or wall hangings that measure Wi-Fi quality and display any faults.
Many of these ideas are either still in their infancy or merely thought experiments. For example, making the fabrics washable is just one hurdle still to be overcome. But even the prototypes are opening up our eyes to the huge range of possibilities these smart textiles have to offer.