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Smarty Pants: Putting Stretch to the Test

Stretchy clothes aren’t just for superheroes – thanks to innovative advancements in textile tech, adding stretch to your clothes may soon go hand-in-hand with adding computing power. Engadget reported that researchers in Japan have invented a conductive ink that is able to maintain a circuit, even when fabric is stretched more than normal.

The possibilities are pretty exciting. For fashion-forward fitness trackers, this could mean more attractive – or even hidden! – fitness tracking capabilities in clothing, as well as health-centric sensors and other such devices.

The current test is for a wristband prototype that tracks muscle movement. Engadget points out that while smart clothing is already a thing, this innovate ink is the key to making it more comfortable, and easier to produce.

In addition to the innovation in Japan, it’s worth noting that – of course – Google is also doing research into smart, stretchy fabric. Unlike the Japanese project, Google’s Project Jacquard has struck fashion partnerships with brands like Levi’s to use clothing as a control mechanism for smart devices and nearby electronics. Let’s be honest – you don’t have to have an affinity for stretchy materials a la Sally O’Malley, to appreciate the fact that Google is going to take “smarty pants” from saying to reality.  

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