Smart … clothing?

From Kill Zone Blog, this: What the Well-Dressed Spy May Soon Be Wearing

A reported $22,000,000 is being used to develop textiles that are washable, breathable, flexible, and comfortable with smart technology woven right into the fabric. Soon shirts, pants, socks, and, yes, even underwear may be able to record photos, video, audio, and geolocation data. … According to IARPA, components include “weavable conductive polymer ‘wires’, energy harvesters powered by the body, ultra-low power printable computers on cloth, microphones that behave like threads, and ‘scrunchable’ batteries that can function after many deformations.”

The result is surveillance and recording capability that is undetectable, as inconspicuous as a tiny slub in the material of a shirt or pants.

I’m torn between “Cool SF universe coming up!” and “Ugh, do not want!”

 In 2013, IARPA inventors went to work on wearable material that could transform into protective armor for soldiers, similar to the “Iron Man” suit that Robert Downey wore in the 2008 film.The moment the thin, liquid-like fabric is hit with something — say, a bullet — it would immediately transform into a much harder shell.

Definitely a cool SF universe, and actually that is just pretty neat, with much less of the Ugh No response compared to the idea of smart clothing that records stuff.

I am definitely thinking of the Invictus reference to the possibility of miniaturized and disguised weaponry in clothing. I guess if (when) I write a sequel, I should do something with that.

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5 thoughts on “Smart … clothing?”

  1. Wearable tech is something people have made vague noises about forever, but I don’t know about market viability – not sure there’s much demand, and people generally expect clothes to be pretty cheap.

  2. Aside from the ugh/ick factor of recording devices in clothing, would it be comfortable? They keep marketing, oh, sunscreen built into fabric as comfortable, and the clothing is definitely not comfortable: feels weird, and holds odor.

  3. Agh, no, absolutely I do not EVER want to wear anything that could be recording me, and the thought that others might be doing so is even worse. I’m generally a rather private person, which attitude is quickly becoming rare in this age of pervasive technology, and private spaces are disappearing at an alarming rate.
    OTOH, the armor-clothes sound awesome. I can see all kinds of applications in various industries such as construction and welding/machining that would make said industries so much safer, quite aside from being used as actual armor.

  4. Ugh, indeed!
    Whyever would anyone, even a spy, want to wear underwear or socks that record video? Of what, your bellybutton and toes? The inside of your shoes and clothes?

    I could see a real spy, committing industrial or military espionage, wanting to use a recording shirt that can document whatever is in front of or behind them. But I think a lot of super-secret locations have things like clean-room rules and suits that would go over the spy shirt, so I wonder if it would be useful even for them.

    Still it wouldn’t surprise me if some paranoid super-secret site managers introduced new rules in a few years, that employees and visitors would have to change head to toe into employer-provided cleansuits before entering, and be checked out again when leaving, like workers in a diamond mine, because of articles like this – never mind it isn’t practical. Double ugh.

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