Intelligent Fabrics: Improved Performance for Athletes

The appropriate material selection is a crucial component of any fashion plan. It is much more pertinent when discussing technical textiles for athletic gear, whether it be men’s or women’s activewear. That’s because, unlike conventional fabrics, technical textiles provide value to the wearer and go beyond serving as a fashion statement. The fashion industry is changing as a result of technology. In their supply chains, designers are gradually implementing the newest technology, opting for sophisticated fibers, and contracting out to specialty manufacturers.

Depending on the intended use of the finished products, different fibers, and filaments are used to create smart textiles, sometimes referred to as technical textiles. Thus, through a variety of technical textile applications, these are improved to provide utility. Sports and leisure textile applications are a quickly expanding industry. As to help athletes perform better, smart textiles have arrived. They are smart also known as intelligent clothing that are slowly but surely being adopted by the sports industry and are turning into an essential investment. Smart fabrics have changed the game thanks to their wide range of applications and benefits, which range from improving player skills to bettering performance.

The term “Smart Textiles” has an all-encompassing use because it considers every technological advancement in the realm of sports apparel. These fabrics are designed or created to sense surroundings on the one hand, taking into account thermal processing, electrical, mechanical, conductive, or any other source, and then react to it on the other. Smart textiles incorporate electronics, software, microchips, and sensors into textiles.  We are familiar with tracking devices from companies like Fitbit, Nike, and Runtastic. Smart fabrics come to give the concept of wearable technology more flavor. They have the same effectiveness as wearables, but they are improving in their ability to understand athletes’ performance. Athletes’ moves, pace, speed, direction of posture, frequency of actions, and other performance factors are improved by these fabrics, which gather a lot of player data.

Sensors are rapidly transforming how we live:

Grip, stroke, impact, temperature, movement, momentum, posture, contact, humidity, heart rate, and altitude. With the aid of sensors, all of these actions or factors can be measured. Microchips and sensors are revolutionizing our lives and are unquestionably here to stay. Since they significantly ease our lives. As an illustration, consider smoke detectors, thermometers, infrared sensors, and light sensors.

Athletes will greatly benefit from smart textiles:

Athletes, both amateur and professional, will gain greatly from smart textiles. In the next few paragraphs, we go through 4 areas where intelligent fabrics are crucial and may help athletes perform better.

  • Analysis of performance and data:

As is common knowledge, improving human performance plays a significant role in professional sports. Of course, amateurs want to get better and keep track of their progress. Data can offer both parties valuable insights into past, present, and future performance. The wearables industry has so far benefited from this trend. Sensor-equipped watches and strap bands can transmit a wide range of data, including heart rate, GPS-related distance traveled, accelerating speed, body temperature, and a wide range of other characteristics. These kinds of sensors, which currently capture temperature, sweat, muscular movement, and in the future, the athlete’s emotional response, will be more incorporated into costumes. Scientists are actively testing techniques like Galvanic Skin Response to make this possible. In any event, data is the new gold to many people and will likely be a significant source of income for professional athletes in the future and smart fabrics will undoubtedly be crucial to uncovering this gold. Whether it is for enhancing abilities or levels of fitness, preventing injuries or using the appropriate players.

  • Health:

It should come as no surprise that there are a wide variety of sensors available to detect bodily processes and biomechanics, including heart rate, respiration, lung capacity, sweat, and the maneuvering of muscles and joints. The athlete can use this knowledge to learn a lot. It should come as no surprise that these sensors will be used more frequently in smart fabrics. Consider smart, stretchy fabrics with carefully positioned ECG, respiration, and activity sensors. Therefore, smart sports gear products have been shown to drastically cut down on or even completely eliminate injuries or the risk of overtraining. Furthermore, thanks to artificial intelligence-based analytics, big data systems may be able to foresee accidents before they occur. Stress levels may be recorded, and novel materials that include 4D pressure systems prevent bikers from skin injuries when they fall.

  • Technique and preparation:

Smart textiles have integrated sensors that can essentially measure anything. Biometrics, such as posture, arm and body movements, heart rate, etc. Athletes and coaches utilize measuring to gather data and information in order to enhance both an athlete’s performance and technical proficiency. By applying such technology we can use the information obtained by a top athlete which is eventually beneficial.

  • Comfort:

Through the evaluation of the strap performance, intelligent fabrics will rule the next generation. They will be able to analyze the same and much more because they are outfitted with sensors or interwoven threads. It’s a simple equation: greater comfort translates into better performance. But the athlete’s life will be made simpler in other ways as well, not only by the lack of the strap. The temperature may be simply adjusted by integrated sensors in clothing, which will make it more comfortable while engaging in physical activity. In the case of a jacket, the basic difference between our body’s temperature and the temperature we prefer is measured by a sensor. If it becomes too cold, a power bank or solar cells will be used to heat the jacket. This will affect our enjoyment on the slopes. Moreover, our cell phones will also be simple to charge. Without a doubt, it will make it more durable on the slopes which will make workouts more comfortable. In the same way, people can anticipate cooling liquids in fabrics throughout the hot summer months which is fantastic news for marathoners.

MD. Rafidul Amin Akhand Soeb
Campus Ambassador
Department of Textile Engineering
Primeasia University (PAU).

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