We have covered many times the advantage wearable technologies can bring to us and our clothing by using it’s potential for sensor inclusion as a second skin, extending our sensory ability.
A resent development by a team of researchers at MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering led by Associate Professor Yoel Fink could add a new sensory function to our future outfit: a third eye.
The researchers have developed light-detecting fibers that, when weaved into a web, act as a flexible camera. Fabric composed of these fibers could be joined to a computer that could provide information on a small display screen attached to a visor or on the sleeve giving a view what’s going on behind the wearer.
Primarily developed for military use to give soldiers a 360 degree view of the surroundings, this technology could very well be of good, sensible use for civil applications as well.
I am not thinking about Runway fashion or street clothing but for example visually impaired people could benefit from such ‘camera’ clothing, providing them additional input which could be translated into tactile feedback about the light condition around them.
The image shows a sphere-shaped web of photo-detecting fibers (cross section on the top) developed by MIT scientists. The sphere can sense the optical properties of the entire volume of space around it as well as detect the source of incoming light.
Ready for the action? It will take quite some time until this revolutionary concept, which is in it’s very early stage – demonstrable in a Lab, will be fit for use on a commercial scale. Nevertheless, it is highly interesting to see what potential fibers and textiles offer.