August 28, 2007 Smart fabric technology makers Eleksen Group have announced sensor technology allowing consumers to choose which gadget they want to control via their interactive clothing. The new technology system will also benefit garment makers wanting to create interactive apparel (iApparel) but lack the technological capabilities.
This is the first time that the wearers of iApparel will be able to choose from a range of devices to control via clothing, with earlier versions of the technology designed specifically for iPods or cell phones. Radios and other entertainment and communications devices will now be able to be controlled using touchpad technology integrated into garments.
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The additional functionality for interactive apparel wearers is a result of Eleksen’s new eSystem for the manufacture and delivery of such technology to the market. The system is a transformational model incorporating a range of new ElekTex smart fabric sensors, next generation electronics and comprehensive marketing and merchandising support programs. The goal is to move iApparel out of the realm of science fiction and in the lives of everyday consumers.
The eSystem was designed with potential manufacturers of iApparel in mind, to try an eliminate some of the barriers to entering the market. By providing a full technology solution the eSystem allows garment makers to concentrate on designing wearable and fashionable pieces to captivate consumers. The manufacturer does not need to manage any of the electronic process as Eleksen assumes responsibility for the development, production, technology licensing and after-sales customer support.
Electronics modules are sold separately from enabled apparel and bags which creates lower cost interactive products for consumers and makes iApparel more accessible to more people. The system also helps to overcome manufacturer issues such as pricing, retail logistics, electronics management, segment marketing and customer service. Some of the key sectors identified for these lower cost goods are surf, skate and active wear apparel markets.
Smart fabrics have the capability to do almost anything these days, from mobile device control featured in the recent launch of the Zegna Sport Bluetooth iJacket, to the ability including adjust the warmth of a garment depending on the weather. The iApparel industry is booming and predicted to become a $1billion dollar business within the next two and a half to three years as a result of global growth in mobile communications and entertainment devices. This latest innovation in the creation Eleksen’s range of fabric sensors is indicative of the convergence of music, fashion apparel and a digital lifestyle.