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Smart fabric for new soldier uniform
- Feb 06, 2017 -

British soldiers' uniforms could soon use electrically conducting yarn woven directly into the clothing, replacing cumbersome batteries and cabling.

The "e-textiles" could provide uniforms with a single, central power source.

This would allow soldiers to recharge one battery instead of many and cut the number of cables required in their kit.

Surrey-based Intelligent Textiles showcased the lightweight uniform at an event organised by the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE).

The company has patented a number of techniques for weaving complex conductive fabrics.

"We have built-in conductive yarns that then take power and data to where it needs to be," Asha Thompson, director of Intelligent Textiles, told BBC News.

"One of the problems with conventional cables is that breakages can be catastrophic. What we do here is build in redundancy, so that if the fabric gets cut, damaged or torn, we still have a way of re-routing the data."

The company has received £234,000 from the CDE, which wants to find solutions for reducing the physical and the "cognitive" burden placed on soldiers.

Currently, separate batteries may be required for each piece of a soldier's equipment, which adds to their carrying load as well as being costly. This is one reason why a centralised battery pack is so desirable.

In addition, it removes the hindrance of the many wires and cables required in military equipment. These can add weight and can tangle and snag.

Soldiers would also be able to recharge or replace one battery instead of many.

 

TAG: uniform fabric; textile; new type of uniform fabric;

SITE FROM: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-17580666