Here's an Idea: A Future for Smart Fabrics


Fabrics haven’t changed all that much. For years, a shirt has quite simply been a shirt.

But a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wants to add function to the fibers. 

What if your shirt, for example, contained electronics that could track your heartbeat or the heartbeat of your unborn child?

A team from MIT and the Rhode Island School of Design created a fabric microphone, quite literally turning your clothing into a detector of sound. And the integration of electronics is subtle. The technology blends in with the material visually and it’s comfortable to the wearer, according to Dr. Yoel Fink, a professor at MIT and a lead researcher on the microphone project.

"The days of the computer or phone in a glass box in our pocket or pocketbook are numbered," Prof. Fink said in our episode of Here’s an Idea. "The future of computing is in fabrics.

Listen to this episode of Here’s an Idea below. 

 Subscribe to the Here's an Idea podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Watch the researchers test the acoustic microphone: