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Smart Textiles – Next Generation of Clothing

October, 2019

Smart textiles represent the next generation of clothing and are defined as the textiles that can sense or detect stimuli from the environment and react or adapt to the changes in a programmed way. Smart textiles are assisting in improving athletes’ performance by regulating the body temperature, controlling muscle vibrations, and monitoring heart rate during the workout. Smart textiles have a huge impact on sports, fitness, and military industries. Smart textiles offer protection against hazardous environmental conditions, including radiations and toxic gases, and help military & defense forces to be safe.

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Based on the product type, smart textiles can be divided into 3 types:

  1. Passive Smart Textiles: These fabrics are known as the first generation of smart clothing, which can only perceive environmental stimuli. Passive smart fabrics contain only sensors for detecting external conditions.
  2. Active Smart Textiles: This second generation of smart clothing includes both sensors and actuators. Active smart textiles have the capability to sense as well as react to thermal, chameleonic, water repellent, and many other changes.
  3. Ultra Smart Textiles: These fabrics are known as the third generation of smart clothing, which can sense, react, and adapt to environmental changes as needed. These textiles are expected to have some capabilities of reasoning as well as cognition.

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Few known applications of smart textiles include

  • Smart jackets
  • Smart socks
  • Wearable motherboard
  • Smart innerwear
  • Smart shirts
  • Smart pants
  • Smart baby vest
  • Smart running shoes


Smart textiles are the next frontier in materials, and the future is expected to be robust and impeccable. The growing trend of wearable technology and a healthy lifestyle is expected to increase the importance of smart textiles across various industry domains. Smart textiles are offering additional value to the wearer by being fire-resistant, wind-resistant, aesthetic, and protective against environmental hazards. Several technology vendors, as well as fashion brands, have entered the smart textiles market space, and many more are expected to further join the race with the growing concept of smart clothing.

– Sonam Chawla
ICT – Research Analyst
Infoholic Research