Smart clothes could soon monitor your every movement

Scientists at North Carolina State University have discovered how to create super-flexible sensors using silver nanowire. They could potentially be stitched into your clothes to detect movements while flexing your body.

The silver nanowire-based conductors work like a mobile's touchscreen for capacitance, or electrical charge, but can flex up to 150 per cent more than their original length. As they're pushed or pulled the capacitance is changed and can be measured.

The scientists have already used the sensors to monitor thumb and knee movements while a test subject was walking, running and jumping. Other sensors would probably break under the strain of such flexing.

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These sensors could be used in fitted sports clothing with an app to offer feedback on range of movement, strain and pressure - ideal for sports. Imagine doing weights while your app monitors if your stretching far enough in each lift. For technique improvement and injury evasion this could be ideal.

While the Xbox One Kinect can watch your training and work with you at home, these smart clothes could allow you to keep monitoring your efforts when on the move.

One of the scientists, Dr Yong Zhu, said: "They could also be used to create robotics that can 'feel' their environment, or the sensors could be incorporated into clothing to track motion or monitor an individual’s physical health."

While we might not see these smart clothes in shops soon, expect to start seeing them being used in professional sports in the near future.



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