You probably already have enough screens in your house — between the TV, the computer, phone, tablet, watch, and so on, there’s no shortage of displays. One day, however, even your clothing might be a screen.
A new technology has been developed by researchers at UC Berkeley that essentially allows for color-changing threads to be woven into fabrics. The technology is called Ebb, and it’s aimed at looking at how fashion would change if the wearer could change the color of their clothes whenever they wanted.
The threads basically change their hue when a certain voltage is applied, meaning that you could electrify your clothing to suit any occasion — going to a sports match? Change to your team colors! Independence Day? Red, white, and blue it is!
Of course, the tech is still being developed — it takes a long time for the threads to fade into new hues. That’s part of the reason why the team is currently focusing on fashion — the tech wouldn’t really work in its current form for displays of any kind. In the demo video, however, we can see the team using the tech for a basic alphanumeric display.
Over time, however, it’s possible that fabrics could change color color as quickly as our TV displays. What that means is that the threads could be patterned in a way to create animations and even images, and eventually be a part of your connected self. Miss a call? Just look at your sleeve to see who from.
This obviously isn’t the first time we’ve seen smart fabric — plenty of major companies have been looking into making clothes just as smart as your phone, including the likes of Under Armor, Samsung, and Google. Still, most of them have been sensor-focused rather than interface-focused.