CES 2019 isn’t exactly the place you would expect a ground breaking material designed for use in outdoor apparel and equipment to make its debut. Nevertheless, amid all of the new high-tech gadgets, television sets, and Bluetooth speakers companies like North Face, Twinery, AMSU, AiQ, Myant, Teslasuit, and Xenoma were able to generate enough excitement to herald the new beginning of Smart garments merged with gadgets. Prabir Jana, Professor, NIFT, Delhi handpicks the exciting world of smart wearables at CES 2019.
While apparel companies like North Face and Mas Holding going digital and electronics companies like Royole are going apparel, CES 2019 was an amalgamation of smart wearables blurring the difference. Royole’s bendable and foldable screen was seen on hat, handbags and T-shirt. Teslasuit’s full-body haptics, thermal control, motion capture and biometry suit was actually an AR/VR gaming solution.
The North Face revealed what promises to be a revolutionary fabric that could be a real game-changer. The outdoor gear manufacturer says that the new material — dubbed Futurelight — is not only the most waterproof and breathable fabric ever created, it is the most eco-friendly, too. Waterproof fabrics have been a staple in the outdoor industry for years, with numerous options available for helping keep hikers, climbers, and backpackers dry even in a torrential downpour. Where those garments tend to fail, however, is in the area of breathability. That’s because waterproof fabrics, may be excellent at keeping moisture out, but they aren’t always great at allowing it to escape. As a result, when an outdoor enthusiast begins to work up a sweat, condensation tends to form on the inside of their shell jacket simply because it can’t be vented out properly. This can often lead to him or her becoming just as wet and uncomfortable as if they hadn’t worn their waterproof jacket at all. Futurelight reportedly eliminates this problem by allowing the condensation to escape, eliminating it altogether. To achieve this minor miracle, The North Face had to completely go back to the drawing board to design and create the new fabric. The company used a technique known as nanospinning to weave the fibres that make up Futurelight on a sub-microscopic level. This technique allowed the North Face designers to attach thinner membranes to a variety of existing fabrics, giving them the ability to adjust weight, stretch, and durability to meet their needs. The process also allowed them to incorporate nano-sized holes within the material itself, creating a high level of porosity. In short, they were able to create a fabric that lets air move freely through the fibres, while remaining waterproof at the same time.
As impressive as Futurelight’s performance promises to be, that isn’t the only story here. The North Face says this fabric was created using completely recycled materials and uses a non-PFC DWR (durable water repellent) coating as well, making it the most eco-friendly material the company has produced. That extends to the manufacturing process, too, which uses sustainable practices to reduce waste and the amount of water used during production. In other words, Futurelight isn’t just going to keep outdoor athletes more comfortable during their active pursuits, the fabric is designed to have minimal impact on the planet.
The North Face’s team of adventure athletes has been testing Futurelight in the field for more than a year and their feedback has been instrumental in helping the company dial in the right level of performance. In fact, mountaineer Jim Morrison used garments made from the material on three 8,000-meter peaks last year, including Mount Everest. He and climbing partner Hilaree Nelson also used the fabric on their historic first descent of the Lhotse Couilor this past summer as well.
In a press release announcing Futurelight, Nelson, who is the TNF team captain, said, “During the past two years, our world-class team of climbers, skiers, alpinists, snowboarders, and trail runners has been rigorously testing Futurelight across every discipline to prove this technology in varying weather conditions and climates all over the world.” She went on to add, “In all my years in the mountains, I’ve never experienced a product that moved and performed as well as Futurelight. It is creating a new paradigm for what I expect out of a waterproof material.” Futurelight will begin making its way into North Face products in late 2019, first appearing in its more premium Summit Series, Steep Series, and Flight Series outdoor gear. However, because the material is easily refined for use in a wide variety of applications, the fabric is expected to eventually be incorporated across multiple product lines, including footwear and tents. To prove a point for Futurelight’s diverse application BMW displayed a camper with a lightweight fabric outer shell formed from the flexible Futurelight material being stretched out over a geodesic dome frame typically seen in The North Face’s tents.
ODLO, a pioneer of functional sportswear; Clim8, the most advanced intelligent thermal technology; and Twinery, the innovation arm of MAS Holdings, teamed up to create I-THERMIC, which leverages patent-pending, intelligent active heating technology. Years of development has enabled Twinery to integrate heating technology at the yarn level, providing the user warmth in a safe, durable, stretchable, breathable and washable garment. I-THERMIC, has been honoured with a prestigious 2019 CES Innovation Award. I-THERMIC is powered by Clim8’s intelligent technology and platform, which powers heat with a lightweight battery which regulates and maintains the user’s comfort according to fluctuations in skin and activity detection using a smart algorithm. I-THERMIC provides warmth during periods of inactivity, such as time on the ski lift, and regulates the temperature as the body warms up during rigorous activity. The warmth provided by the garment allows skiers to shed layers, enhancing their mobility, while maintaining a comfortable temperature. I-THERMIC uses Twinery’s newest knitting technology to integrate conductive elements into the garment seamlessly while maintaining a lightweight, stretchable quality. The material is fast drying, with great hand feel and a perfect fit for active wearers. “I-THERMIC allows users to stay active and remain comfortable during their winter activities, without having to remove or add layers of clothing,” said Timo Pape, Brand Director, ODLO.
With 30+ years of experience manufacturing for the world’s largest brands, Twinery has unparalleled knowledge of the human body and biomechanics, as well as fabric wearability and material science. Twinery brings together world-class scientists, designers, engineers, marketers and entrepreneurs to create and commercialize the textile technologies of tomorrow and bring them to market today. Born in Norway and engineered in Switzerland, ODLO offers performance sportswear across 6 categories: functional sports underwear, running, training, cycling, Nordic disciplines and outdoors. With over 70 years of heritage, ODLO, the inventor of performance sports underwear and the three-layer principle, continues to innovate to stay ahead of the game and is now distributed in over 35 countries. Founded in 2016, based out of France, the company leverages its technological and scientific expertise to build the next generation of active-response thermal wearables. The technology monitor, analyze, activate, and regulate temperature on the wearer’s skin. The platform empowered by native apps and IA allow the most advance and personal heat technology.
AMSU (Shenzhen) New Technology Co., Ltd., a high-tech company, concentrates on cross-border innovation in information technology (IT) and biotechnology (BT), with the core technology for real-time long-term monitoring of ECG information under high-speed motions apply on smart apparel, smart patch. With unique flexible sensor and exclusive algorithm AMSU product range can monitor dynamic heart rate up to 99.3% accuracy, Multiple heart rhythm abnormalities recognition and reminders, Heart rate variability analysis, heart rate recovery (HRR) ability assessment. The Smart Dynamic ECG product range include shirt, bra, vest, which are capable of recording in excess of 18 km/hr.
The capability to digitize human motion is significant in a wide range of application scenarios – Sports Coaching, Physiotherapy Management, Entertainment and Industrial applications, to name the most popular ones.
AiQ has teamed up with Synertial, the most accurate inertial motion capture brand in the world, with over 25 years of experience. To offer cutting edge technology in electronics hardware and smart fabrics (AiQ), coupled with the most sophisticated kinematics tools & software to produce professional data sets and plugins for most popular 3rd party application in Industrial, sports and entertainment applications.
Bioman+ from AiQ, is a base upper body garment solution for a wide range of smart clothing solutions. It consists of conductive fiber based textile electrodes for the acquisition of the electric activity of human body as well as conductive thread to carry the electric signals to the processing & transmission module that is snapped onto the garment. Bioman+ has been validated with most of the industry leading heart rate & ECG module vendors and continues to be the first choice Smart Clothing partner for new module vendors entering this rapidly growing segment.
Whether it’s ECG monitoring for pregnant mothers and their babies, performance monitoring for athletics, or slip and fall detection and enzyme analysis for elderly care, SKIIN provides sensing and actuating capabilities across life stages and across 24 hours of human activity. Myant’s SKIIN Textile Computing platform includes applications for heart health monitoring, maternal and fetal ECG monitoring, remote rehabilitation, sleep health and more. SKIIN works in four different areas; electrophysiology, Biochemistry, Biomechanics & Haemodynamics.
Electrophysiology – Myant’s textile-based sensors can measure the biopotentials from the heart, brain or muscles as electrical signals. It can also noninvasively stimulate nerves that could ultimately activate and move muscles. Applications include Electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring for heart health monitoring; Electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring of the brain for sleep and stress monitoring and Electromyography (EMG) monitoring of muscle activation for athletics or rehabilitation.
Biochemistry – Myant’s advanced textile-based sensing capability on a variety of biochemical markers, including pH levels, urine-analysis, sweat analysis and oximetry.
Biomechanics – Myant’s textile-based sensors can recognize and record the body’s movement and activity. Measurements includes: Gait analysis, movement and range of motion, activity-type recognition, and posture.
Haemodynamics – Enabled by textile-based acoustic and optical sensors, Myant’s Textile Computing solutions measure fluid flow in the body, for example the movement of blood through the heart and veins.
Improved Human Performance Technology in VR Training Was Presented By Teslasuit and has been named a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree in Virtual and Augmented Reality.
makers of a new generation smart clothing apparel with our first product called Teslasuit – a full-body haptics, thermal control, motion capture and biometry suit initially purposed for VR and AR with further plans to expand the industries and applications.
Teslasuit is world’s first fully integrated smart clothing apparel with Haptic Feedback, Motion Capture, Climate Control and Biometric Feedback systems and has solution for a game developer, arcade owner or enterprise representative.
Xenoma develops and manufactures next-generation smart apparel ‘e-skin’. e-skin is stretchable, highly durable and machine washable technology brand of smart apparel while it comfortably integrates multiple sensors and devices to track your movement and vital signs. Each product has different functions and designs depending on the applications.
Xenoma’s proprietary process integrates sensors and devices comfortably into
circuits on fabric called Printed Circuit Fabric (PCF) which is highly durable (100,000 times 50% stretching) and machine washable (ISO 6330 4N-A).