Over the years, technology has been used to increase individuals' cognitive and physical abilities, for instance, people use reading glasses to enhance and correct their vision while others use heavy machinery to lift weights beyond their own capabilities. However, development of wearable computing and ubiquitous computing has pioneered the integration of systems in the clothing industry. This paper will attempt to examine the state of the art about wearable computing, augmented fashion, smart textiles, three case studies and innovative developments in the fashion design sector.
How Wearable Computing and Ubiquitous Computing has Augmented Fashion and Smart Textiles
Wearable computing is gradually gaining popularity in the consumer markets. Today, active accessories like wellness tracking bracelets and smart watches are becoming a commodity and a lot of companies are investing in research as a way of looking for new technologies and concepts for future wearable products. The everyday wearing of augmented reality glasses influences the fashion world by according the chance where virtual and physical aspects can be merged to create an overall artistic; typically, this can be achieved through the integration of computer-readable visual markers as one part of the clothing design (Hakkila et al. 2017, p113).
Over the years, visual signs have been integrated into clothing to include different information signals and meanings. The use of information signals enables people to communicate their expertise, rank in the hierarchy, belonging to a certain group or individual expertise in skills. The embedding of visual signs to outfits creates an opportunity for the application of visual markers in the clothes. There are two visual design approaches that influence the introduction of visual markers to attires. The first style is camouflaging that aims at hiding the markers in a larger visual design pattern (Hakkila et al. 2017, p115). On the other hand, the second style highlights the visibility of the marker as well as emphasizing cost and the access of information.Baurley (2004) argues that the shifts in the ICT, electronics and textiles are likely to give rise to the sectors of intelligent textiles and clothing, especially the technical textiles industry in the EU and the USA. The western clothing market concentrates on a market segmentation that is driven by high-end specification, low cost and high volume goods, for instance, sports performance and designer-driven fashion. In recent years, the market growth in clothing has been influenced by the emergence of innovative processing technologies, new fabrics as well as new fibers. The trend is set to continue where technical innovations in textiles will appear more important than the fashion content. Nonetheless, changes in consumer lifestyles have been a major boost of the emerging market, for instance, the consumer requirements are changing where individuals want to experience emotional and sensory fulfillment; these are likely to become the new commercial requirements in the future.
Smart textiles are capable of sensing and reacting to environmental conditions from various sources like chemical, thermal, electrical, chemical and mechanical amongst others. More so, smart textiles can act in a different way than an average fabric; hence they are used to perform special functions (Syduzzaman et al. 2015, p1). The development of wearable computing is already having an impact in the healthcare industry. The introduction of wearable devices in the healthcare sector has aided the monitoring of physiological signs in the course of typical daily activities; this has reduced the number of infrequent clinical visits associated with the physiological status of a patient. The wireless-enabled garment make it possible to monitor physical activity, human heart rhythm and respiratory frequency. The other application of wearable technology is life belt that is used to facilitate the parental procedures for a mother and unborn child, for instance monitoring blood pressure and kinetic problems requiring immobilization (Syduzzaman et al. 2015, p5).
Nonetheless, wearable computing has had its effect in the military world through smart clothing, where the technology is being used to increase the safety and effectiveness of military forces. In hazardous situations, there is always a need the information technology to enhance survival and protection of the people working in those conditions. Therefore, the smart clothing is used to detect environmental hazards like toxic gases; this allows soldiers to respond safely and rapidly (Syduzzaman et al. 2015, p5). Additionally, sports sector appears as the most essential in the smart clothing developments. There are a number of important functions that can be implemented using smart clothing, for instance, monitoring body temperature, heart rate or measuring activity, for instance, the number of steps taken or the total distance travelled.
In the past two decades, the application of computation technology has resulted in more powerful networking devices, memory storage, and processors at low prices. Furthermore, numerous physical things have been embedded with greater computational capabilities and unified via the internet in a cost-effective manner. The overall adoption of IoT technologies has enriched the idea of ubiquitous computing. Initially, the ultimate objective of ubiquitous computing was to increase the availability of computers in the physical environment by making them invisible to the user (Peiris 2017). Today, there are enhanced computer where ubiquitous computing has enabled the expansion of human consciousness through computers, for example, the introduction of smart textiles. On the other hand, ubiquitous computing has created context-aware and responsive environment, for instance, it has facilitated the interconnection of things where the user is able to make devices that respond in a manner that improves the overall activities of the user.
Three Case Studies and Innovative Developments Possible in the Fashion Design Sector
The first innovative development is the Good on You mobile application (Fashion for Good 2018). This application paves way for ethical rating. It has one thousand fashion brands rated according to their effects on individuals, animals and the planet. The application can promote transparency in the fashion sector by granting customers with the chance to make conscious decisions about their purchases.
The second application is the smart tailoring; this development is responsible for reducing lead time by almost half as well as increasing the fabric efficiency by one quarter. This is meant to benefit garment manufacturing companies. The technology enables the use of a computer in the manufacturing process where it is fed with data about size, pattern and color of the intended garments (Breyer 2012).Nonetheless, the patterning, fabric cutting and weaving are done simultaneously.
The third innovation is Reverse Resources; this is a digital platform aimed at providing solutions to consumer waste for fashion brands and attire manufacturers. The technology is based on a software platform that allows textile and garment manufacturers to trace leftover fabrics. Once traced, the fabrics can be reintroduced into the supply chain; thus cutting the use of fresh supplies (Arnault 2018).
The wearable computing, ubiquitous computing and the Internet of things has resulted in major advancements in the technology. Further, the technology has extended in the clothing industry where it has not only augmented fashion, but it has also led to the launch of smart textiles. Today, the smart textiles provide the wearer with increased functionality while augmented reality has pushed the fashion world a notch higher from its super high end.
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Wearable Computing and Ubiquitous Computing Augmented Fashion, Smart Textiles and IoT Augmenting Humans. (2022, Aug 24). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/wearable-computing-and-ubiquitous-computing-augmented-fashion-smart-textiles-and-iot-augmenting
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