Smart textiles are determined as those materials that can think for themselves. This can be obtained through out the participation of electronic devices or advanced technology chemicals, some of them are already being used in certain types of clothing. Whether is for sports, leisure, security, protection, etc. This type of textile is establishing what comes next for fabrics and garments, that will be constructed thanks to its functionality and not its design. This will create many advances for industries, and also new materials with extraordinary properties.
For example, stronger but less heavy materials, new computer applications with faster pieces or sensor that are capable of detecting and destroying cancer cells, in the most unreachable parts of the body, such as the brain, and many others.
At the moment in different countries of the world, intelligent fabric exists. They are capable of discovering strange behaviors in a person\'s body, like intelligent pajamas that detect fever in a child and special suits that can isolate the most extreme temperatures on the planet at -50 degrees and only disintegrating at 3000 degrees.
Clothes with solar panels, also in some way are intelligent fabrics, since they are able to adapt the temperature of the fabric to the human body. These clothes can be washed and ironed like any conventional clothes that we have.
Other advances of textiles with programmed intelligence are elastic tapes, used in the health field, that is able of transmitting heat in a controlled way. Another example would be the car seats, that are made with heated fabrics.
This are projects that they have technological centers in place that are responsible of making sure that the applications of these materials, in which technology and textiles merge equally are truly endless. All of these intelligent fabrics, applied to daily life, will have great results on the improvement of the quality of life of people in the near future. The secret to this type of fabrics, is that they can think for themselves. These fabrics use special fibers for this, called biometrics, and textiles that integrate personal area networks, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. This clothing has sensors that obtains the information to decide whether or not to activate each function, like for example the levels of temperatures, illumination, absorbtion of sweat, and control of weight, pulse, and heart rate.
Nowadays these fabrics adjust colors, sizes, body temperatures, moods, also fight stress, induce sleep, protect against ultraviolet rays, provide thermal insulation, perfume, destroy microorganisms and therefore smell.
In the most important technological centres, working in the smart textile sector, studies are being done of consequences, whether there would be smart fabrics, with some device, in the human body, and how it could impact people life , who for some reason can\'t use them.
Textile engineering and design allow to create technologically advanced articles without losing sight of the textile demands that every garment or fabric must have. This is how smart and functional textiles emerge, to offer companies the possibility to cover new opportunities of the markets.
The clearest examples of this technology are textile sensors and biosensors developed for measuring physiological parameters such as: electrocardiogram, heart pulse, breathing or physical parameters such as pressure, volume or even presence. These tissues take advantage of physical phenomena, mainly electrical, that once captured, sent and processed can provide the required data. With this behavior there are different typologies: We have the Thermoactive, that are textiles that react to heat by changing color, conductivity or shape. Then the Photoactive textiles that by the action of light can change color or store energy for later emitting and the Electroactive that are the most interesting as they can vary their color, emit light, change shape or increase their temperature with the passage of an electric current through them.
Another benefit of the Smart Fabrics is that it contributes with sustainability, by creating this textile we can demonstrate the long and better durability and the change of styles, the amount of textile waste can be reduced. These textiles are also very comfortable and lightweight, so the user won’t feel uncomfortable while wearing them. On the other hand, this type of textile also has its disadvantage and it the price of it, it’s really high. But although this might seem like a big issue the benefits of obtaining this product are endless that can last a lifetime. Another huge disadvantage that can be a huge problem is the security and privacy with fabric devices. The information that is collected from someone using this type of fabrics is really personal. So, for instance any type of information should be secured. Any that expose to unwanted people could cause a lot of harm. If this would happen that is data transmitted it could potentially be intercepted by a 3rd party, it could be embarrassing and damaging for the one that its information is going out. Another issue that we can preset is that the textile could not be compatible with smart devices where it you control it. To conclude with the disadvantages of this smart fabrics, we also have to address that is still and industry that although is becoming more real as time passes by its an industry that is growing and it still has a long way to go.
Smart textiles that a few years ago were presented as dreamy, futuristic and unrealistic products, and as an uncompetitive market, today, are projected with a high added value, moving away from the conventional and providing aspects that can meet the needs of the most bolder and avant-garde consumer.