Futuristic threads and high-tech walls!

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

plant threads
Growing clothing fabric like a plant!

If walls could talk, what would they say? Or, how about if sweaters could display messages as bright as flashy billboards? Those may seem like silly questions to ask now, but if these awesome materials hit the market, we’ll be struttin’ our stuff better than any smart gadget ever could.

Take garments from the project “Wearable Absence,” for example. These clothes come with LED lights and sensors embedded right into a screen! Since the clothes have wireless capabilities, a wearer can custom-make their own messages to display to the world. If they don’t feel like saying anything specifically, an individual can just use the LEDS to play videos, display pictures, and sounds.

That’s a pretty serious piece of tech, and people might want to steal it! Maybe you should just wear designer Nancy Tilbury’s Spike Jacket instead. It’s not covered in pointy metal spikes if that’s what you were thinking. The jacket comes equipped with a sensor that detects the people around you, and if someone gets too close, the jacket start flashing away. Maybe that way, they’ll get the hint they’re invading your personal space.

Wow, sounds like these two clothes are going to be lined with tons of wires, mini-bulbs, and sensors, so I wonder if  there’s a strong material to hold it all together. Hopefully, Carole Collet develops her Bio Lace sometime soon. It’s just an idea, but basically, she wants to use genetic engineering – changing the building blocks of life – to grow clothing fabric from the ground! Instead of fruits hanging off the branches, you’d have sweaters and covers to pick as you please, just like plants.

If you’re not up for decorating your clothes with sensors, perhaps you’d be more interested in covering your home with advanced materials? I mean, seriously, it’s nice to have plush carpets, and clean walls, but after a while, it gets boring looking at the same shades of white and gray over and over! Well, that wouldn’t happen if Rug Circuits was spread across your floor! The rug comes equipped with heat-sensitive ink, and when it’s charged with electricity, the colors change.

Well, that’s nice, but I don’t think many people waste time looking at the ground, because their eyes are usually busy taking in scenery at eye-level… you know, like walls. Tired of boring guests with the same old, same old? Spice up your house with wallpaper from the Living Wall project! When people interact with the colorful paper, it lights up and makes sounds. If you want to use the wallpaper when the guests leave, the Living Wall can control temperatures in the environment, turn lamps on and off, as well as send messages to friends.

Who knew that boring old clothing and building materials could be so fascinating!

Featured image courtesy of Living Wall from MIT. Image of plant clothing courtesy of Nancy Tilbury on Fashion Phreaking. Video courtesy of Concordia.