New British Smart Fabric Could Hook-Up Soldiers Without Wires

By Sam Gibbs on at

We hear about all sorts of fancy new stuff the US military is working up, but this time it’s us Brits that are pioneering something actually useful. Our troops could soon be wearing some awesome-sounding wired-up “e-textiles” with integrated batteries woven into the fibres to power the next-generation of gadget-equipped soldiers.

Intelligent Textiles, based in Surrey, has been showcasing some new smart combat fatigues that have “conductive yarns” woven through their fibres. You can hook up one single battery that’ll be able to power every gadget you have to carry just by connecting to the clothing. They’ve even thought about the potential for ripping and tearing, building redundancy into the clothing meaning even if you get shot it’ll still connect-up your gear.

It’s hoping to replace the plethora of cables and batteries that soldiers have to carry with them onto the modern battlefield, which can add some serious weight on top of the necessities like food, water and, of course, ammo. Connecting up all that gear including a soldier’s head cam; head-up display; battle computer, and even a fancy new fabric keyboard that’s currently in the pipeline, all without wires.

It might be designed for soldiers, but I can’t be the only one thinking that a connected jacket like this would be awesome. Integrate a removable battery pack and you’ve got an instant portable charger for your phone, camera or anything else you’re carrying. You might even be able to hook your phone into the jacket pocket while a set of headphones connect up at the collar of the jacket – no more messy cables to get tangled up. Make it happen. [BBC]

Image credit: Royal Marine from Shutterstock