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Smart textile ready to boost performance sports wear market

Smart textile ready to boost performance sports wear market
By Tokunbo Salako with Reuters
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With the exception perhaps of football, there are very few major sports that are not taking advantage of
the growing use of technology.

With XelfleX, the garment itself is the sensor and it allows you to create smart clothing that is low-cost, durable, useful and attractive to wear.

Smaller and smarter sensors can measure and monitor power, speed and distance for example to help athletes perfect their performance.

But similar sensors in clothes have often proved to be cumbersome and susceptible to sweat and moisture.

Now intelligent sports-wear makers from Cambridge in England have come up with a garment that becomes an active sensor itself.

According to its developers, the new smart textile, called XelfleX, can be used to make comfortable, washable, robust clothing – plus it gives it the wearer a great deal of information.

“We’re trying to measure the stretching of the optical fibre. We do that in a very low cost way here, by measuring changes in the bending of the fibre. As I flex my joint, it changes how much that optical fibre is bent,” said XelfleX inventor, Martin Brock explaning how it works.

“And as that bending changes the properties of the light in the optical fibre change so that more light is scattered back towards the source. And we pick up on that extra scattering and that allows us to measure how much that joint is bent,” added Brock.

Its makers say that algorithms turn the results from the sensors into useful feedback for the wearer in all manner of sports – which could turn it into a vital tool for anyone looking to improve their posture or polish up their swing.