It seems Google is about to take the lead in commercializing smart clothing and fabrics. Tech companies like Samsung and Apple are already on the smart fabric train. Now, a new patent filed by Microsoft details the company’s foray into smart fabric technology.
The patent filed by Microsoft and published by the USPTO last month details what the company has planned for smart fabric. In a patent titled “Electronically Functional Yarn,” Microsoft describes how it will embed electronic functionality into yarns that are typically non-electronically functional.
The patent image below “illustrates electronic components #306 in electronically functional yarns #304B and #304C. Each component may represent any suitable electronic component. It will be noted that the sizes, locations, and general arrangement of the components are presented for example, and that any suitable arrangement of electronic component(s) on an electronically functional yarn may be used,” reports PatentlyApple.
In regards to the patent figures above, Microsoft notes that “although article #100 takes the form of a shirt, this innovation may also be applied to other electronically functional devices, such as soft-touch computing devices comprising textile exterior surfaces, wearable computing devices (e.g. head-mounted displays, functional gloves (e.g. a glove configured as a control device and/or output device for a computing system), wrist-worn devices, upholstery for furnishings, wall hangings, signage and other information displays, and internet of things (JOT) devices,” the PatentlyApple report states.
This new tech could be used on Microsoft HoloLens for both industrial and gaming applications. However, smart fabrics could be used in almost every industry, including Healthcare, Sports and Fitness, Automotive, Fashion and Entertainment, Home, and Safety/Military.
In September, WT | Wearable Technologies reported on a Microsoft patent application for a wearable band that suggest the company is looking into the possibility of wearable technology being used to help manage the symptoms of involuntary movements commonly suffered by people with Parkinson’s or a host of other disorders.