The U.S. Army, in alliance with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has developed a technology that brings human troops one step ahead. Smart fabric containing “programmable fibers” can record, accumulate, and transmit data developed by the U.S Army. But how is that gonna happen?
By weaving microchips into the uniform fibers, it can perform double action: protection, combined with computational tasks. Such a technology would provide not only immense power but also collect physiological data and also would alert others if danger is around.
According to the researchers, electronic textiles can supply power to the sensors, collect data through the user and his environment, and transfer that data back to headquarters. The fibers could also act as an alarm if there is any threat ahead, for instance, weapons attacks. It could also mark the user’s location for the remaining troop, including nearby allied forces.
For this purpose, fiber prototypes are developed by the researchers at MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. According to the team’s new paper, the polymer fibers consisting of hundreds of tiny silicon microchips that, once electrified, can maintain a digital connection across tens of meters, according to the team’s new paper, published previous this month in the journal Nature Communications.
The Army Combat Capabilities Development Command clarifies, ” This fiber is thin and flexible, and can pass through a needle, be sewn into fabrics, and washed at least 10 times without breaking down.”
It can also act as a digital storage device, with researchers cramming a “767-kilobit full-color short movie file and a 0.48-megabyte music file” on one length. The fibers can store that data for up to two months without power.
This technology could also assist in artificial intelligence applications, like collecting data inferred by an algorithm to detect changes in both the user and his environment.
The researchers used the fiber to collect 270 minutes of surface body temperature data after stitching it around the armpit and examined how it corresponded to different physical pursuits. Qualified on these lines, the fiber established results with 96 percent accuracy.
The fibers could also monitor health gauges such as heart rate, respiratory rate, muscle data and warn headquarters of a forthcoming health crisis. If a soldier has gone into contact with chemical toxins, the smart fiber could assist in that forte too. Muscle data, for example, could warn command if a soldier has been exposed to paralysis-inducing nerve agents.
Right now, the fibers are controlled by a small external, so the Army will later have to design a new chip that can act as a microcontroller from within the fiber itself. “When we can do that, we can call it a fiber computer,” the researchers say.