Nanofabrics, organic displays and T-shirts
Posted by aogSaturday, 06 December 2003 at 16:21 TrackBack Ping URL

I was reading an article on nano-fabrics recently, where someone has demonstrated how to weave transistors in to cloth. What happens when that technology and organic diplays gets good enough that one can wear the equivalent of computer screens? Think of the T-shirts! Rather than some static image, one could have live video playing. Alternatively one might have only a few physical outfits and switch them by reprogramming their diplay aspects.

I think that the progression will go like this

  1. Point light sources for effect
  2. Groups of light sources for area affect (e.g., stripes on pants).
  3. Small displays to project messages
  4. Large displays
  5. Color / light over most of the garment.

The biggest impediment will probably be how this interacts with washing, both in terms of durability and power sources. It’s one thing to get a flexible surface, another to survive a wash cycle. On the other hand, many decorated T-shirts don’t survive that many cycles anyway so even limited durability may not be a show stopper.

What would happen to the fashion industry if new fashions could be adopted in real time, just by downloading from a website? Currently it takes time for “high” fashion to spread to the masses because of manufacturing and pricing. But if it costs the same for everyone, that will no longer be a factor. And of course, it will become much easier for “amateurs” to get in to the area. It should be an interesting time.