smart fabricsThe Department of Defense is funding research into combining sensors, electronics and power generators into fibers, threads and yarns to produce advanced smart fabrics.

According to the press release:

“The institute will bring together nontraditional partners to integrate fibers and yarns with integrated circuits, LEDs, solar cells, and other capabilities to create textiles and fabrics that can see, hear, sense, communicate, store energy, regulate temperature, monitor health, change color, and more.”

Wearable devices are old news, soon to be supplanted by flexible electronic stickers and tattoos. The next generation of products will incorporate the smart fabrics that are just now beginning to be developed. Medical device companies who want to stay ahead of the curve should be monitoring developments in this area closely, and preparing how best to incorporate this technology into their business models.