With innovations in wearable technology, researchers in Singapore have created “smart” clothing. The textiles can save battery life and bolster signals on wireless devices like smartwatches and headphones, Reuters reported.
John Ho, an assistant professor, said per the report, “This T-shirt increases the wireless connectivity of devices around my body by 1,000 times.” Ho noted that the technology could be utilized for the measurement of patient or athlete vital signs. He oversaw a team of 10 researchers that created the technology during the period of a year.
The “metamaterial” invention lets radio waves such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth glide across clothing from wearable device to wearable device without the radiating outwards over all different paths. As a result, wearable technology and sensors can save energy and make for faster connections. The clothing could also help signals become more secure as it could allow sensitive data to be transmitted away from eavesdroppers.
The news comes as shipments of wearables such as Samsung headphones and Apple AirPods reached 49.6 million units during the first quarter of this year, a 55.2 percent increase from 2018, per the International Data Corporation (IDC). Most of the market is led by wearables that are wrist-worn, at 63.2 percent of market share, however, ear devices are growing at a quick rate (135.1 percent year over year) and they account for 34.6 percent of all shipped wearables.
Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said per past reports, “The elimination of headphone jacks and the increased usage of smart assistants both inside and outside the home have been driving factors in the growth of ear-worn wearables.” Ubrani continued, “Looking ahead, this will become an increasingly important category as major platform and device makers use ear-worn devices as an on-ramp to entice consumers into an ecosystem of wearable devices that complement the smartphone but also offer the ability to leave the phone behind when necessary.”