Smart fabrics are the amalgamation of conventional textile materials and polymer hydrogels imparting advanced properties. Bopolymers like chitosan, synthetic polymers are also used as components. Also, copolymerization of two different polymers has also proven significantly successful tool for grafting of 'smart' textiles. The major prospects of smart textiles include deodorant fabrics, drug/nutrient delivery fabrics, shape memory fabrics, breathable fabrics, color changing textiles.
Globally, the smart textiles were manufactured using woven or knitting technologies, however with recent advancements, electronics conductive inks can be printed on textiles. Dupont has invented conductive inks that can be printed on the textiles and can be used for longer period of time. Smart textiles include conductive materials such as silver, copper, nickel. The smart fibers are manufactured by using yarn with woven or knitted interactive materials, which can interact with the environment or the user. Such textiles are also referred to as e-textiles. Smart fabric is a traditional fabric with added interactive functionality such as power generation or storage, sensing, radio frequency functioning, human interface elements and/or assistive technology. As per Research and Markets, globally the smart textile for wearable technology market is growing at a rapid pace, at a CAGR more than 30% by 2021. Currently, the global smart textiles for wearable technology market is expected to grow at rapid pace. The growth in this market can be acknowledged to the drivers such as growing wearable electronics market, growing popularity of smart gadgets with advanced features, and growing demand for low cost smart sensors. However, the growth in this market is expected to be restrained by high cost of production of smart textiles and compatibility issues. As per the study, a majority of the revenue in the global smart textiles for wearable technology comes from its military and safety applications followed by home and architectural applications. Among the geographies Europe dominated the market in 2015 followed by North America. Asia Pacific region is expected to grow at the highest CAGR over the forecast period.
The past few years have seen the introduction of a number of wearable technologies, from fitness trackers to smart watches but with the increasing use of smart textiles, wearables are set to become 'disappearables' as the devices merge with textiles, according to a new report from Cientifica.
The textile industry will experience a growing demand for high-tech materials driven largely by both technical textiles and the increasing integration of smart textiles to create wearable devices based on sensors. This will enable the transition of the wearable market away from one dominated by discrete hardware based on MEMS accelerometers and smartphones. Unlike today's wearables, tomorrow's devices will be fully integrated into the garment through the use of conductive fibres, multilayer 3D printed structures and two dimensional materials such as graphene. This represents significant opportunities for both existing smart textiles companies and new entrants to create and grow niche markets in sectors currently dominated by hardware manufacturers such Apple and Samsung. The market for wearables using smart textiles is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 132% between 2016 and 2022 representing a US$70 billion market. Largely driven by the use of nanotechnologies, this sector has the potential to be one of the largest end users of nano and two dimensional materials, with wearable devices accounting for over half the demand by 202