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MIT Lab Shows Off Smart Threads That Can Send Messages, Change Color

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"Fabric is the new software," says Yoel Fink, CEO of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America.

Credit: The Boston Globe

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing smart fabrics as part of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AAFOA) alliance. At the grand opening of AFFOA's Fabric Discovery Center, AFFOA CEO and MIT professor Yoel Fink showcased innovative fibers that function similarly to computers, and manufacturing methods enabling textile makers to weave unique features into apparel.

The event also featured backpacks with a unique digital code woven into their fabric, enabling anybody to scan each other's bags with a smartphone app and obtain owner-related data.

Meanwhile, an AFFOA affiliate demonstrated a temperature-controlled color-shifting camouflage cloth using wires acting as heating elements. Also spotlighted were baseball caps with attached earphones, with optical fibers equipped with silicon circuitry woven in so light pulses from an overhead lamp could be translated into audio signals.

Fink says this "Fabric LiFi" technology could support an infinite number of data-processing applications.

From The Boston Globe
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