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Web Exclusive | September 2016

Smart textiles potential to touch $130 bn

Smart textiles are creating a fourth industrial revolution for the textiles and fashion industry worth over $130 billion by 2025, according to the recent report from technology consultancy Cientifica. Advances in fields such as nanotechnology are creating a range of textile–based technologies with the ability to sense and react to the world around them. According to Cientifica, the rapid adoption of smart textile technologies has the ability to make the current generation of wearables from Apple and Samsung quickly obsolete, while providing significant opportunities in the sportswear market.

Advances in fields such as nanotechnology, organic electronics, and conducting polymers are creating a range of textile–based technologies with the ability to sense and react to the world around them. This includes monitoring biometric data such as heart rate and respiration, or environmental factors such as temperature and the presence of toxic gases. These textiles also have the ability to provide real-time feedback in the form of haptic feedback, changes in colour, temperature or electrical stimuli. 

The report identifies three distinct generations of textile wearable technologies. The first generation is where a sensor is attached to apparel, second generation products embed the sensor in the garment and in third generation wearables the garment is the sensor. The report identifies third generation wearables as representing a significant opportunity for new and established textile companies to add significant value without having to directly compete with Apple, Samsung and Intel.
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