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Impact of Smart Fabrics in Key Applications : Next Generation Fabrics Facilitating Improved Functionality in Healthcare, Fitness, and PPE Sectors

  • December 2014
  • 52 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 2590896


Table of Contents

Research Scope

•Smart fabrics have become an active field of research in various industries. They comprise integration of electronic components such as sensors into conventional fabrics for various applications ranging from health care to personal protective equipment.
•This study titled, Impact of Smart Fabrics in Key Sectors, reviews technology developments that might significantly impact adoption of smart fabrics across the healthcare, sports, and personal protective equipment sectors.
•This study also analyses the various technologies relating to smart fabrics and its capability to address various requirements of various industries.

Essentially, this research service provides:
A) A brief snapshot of various smart fabrics technologies, industry value chain, and technology capability focusing on healthcare, sports, and personal protective equipment.
B) An overview of key drivers and challenges that impact commercial adoption of smart fabrics in above mentioned sectors.
C) A review of recent innovations and their impact.
D) Emerging opportunities of smart fabrics.
G) A brief snapshot of key patents in this space.
H) A list of key contacts in smart fabrics industry.

Key Findings

Smart fabrics for personal protective equipment (PPE) is an emerging sector for smart fabrics and textiles compared to other sectors such as sports and health care. The major challenge for integrating smart fabrics in PPE is the harsh environment that the fabrics will be exposed to.
Smart fabrics or textiles are primarily for defense applications within the PPE sector. The major global footprint for smart fabrics in PPE sector is in the United States mainly because of the high demand from the defense sector.
Smart fabrics in healthcare, and sports & fitness industries have immense potential in the next 10 years. Smart shirts and vests are bound to be disruptive wearable technologies in the healthcare space. Measurement of heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, ECG, pulse rate and skin temperature are some of applications possible with smart fabrics in this space.
Smart fabrics for athletes will include better quality fabric materials capable of effective moisture release and tracking body motion and fatigue. With the help of patented polymers and better wireless connectivity, sports professionals will be able to monitor their health vitals more closely.
Improvements in device fabrication, miniaturization and integration techniques for effective embedding of electronic components into fabrics are driving further penetration of smart fabrics into various industry sectors.
Rapid adoption of smart fabrics was triggered predominantly due to the extent in adoption of smart fabrics in the defense industry. Smart fabrics are used for weather condition jackets or uniforms capable of enhancing camouflage effects.


Smart fabrics aim at integrating electronic components such as sensors into fabrics to develop various products based on wearable technologies across different sectors such as healthcare, sports, and personal protective equipment.
Major adoption of smart fabrics technologies has been for health monitoring, sports training data acquisition and virtual reality applications.
•Smart fabrics are either already adopted or are in the in the pipeline for wider commercialization across industries. They are expected to bring changes more significantly in coming years.
•Smart fabrics can help doctors easily monitor their critically ill patients remotely and suggest the remedial steps to be taken without the patients having to visit the hospitals frequently.
•Another promising sector for smart fabrics is the sports industry. Smart fabrics can monitor and store data relating to athletes’ performance. The same data can be retrieved for further analysis to elucidate steps for further improvement in athletes’ performance.

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