Fabric Technology: A Fabric That Can 'Hear' Sound

Fabric Technology: A Fabric That Can 'Hear' Sound

Would you like to wear a t-shirt that could hear your thoughts? Stunned with this idea? 

Yeah, it’s totally true now with great Fabric Technology A Fabric That Can 'Hear' Sound. Future materials that are acoustically active may allow your garments to listen in on you — for your own good.

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You know what? Fabrics have played an important role in human life since we shed our ancestral fur and evolved into 'bare' apes two million years ago. For the most part, fabric technology developments have focused on new fibers and greater production capacity. However, a new age in fabric technology has begun. A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed materials that can 'hear' sounds, inspired by the widespread usage of fabrics and their near proximity to the human body.

The researchers describe their development of a fabric yarn intertwined with an electrical, or 'piezoelectric' fiber in a paper published in Nature. The resulting fabric can 'hear' thanks to a mechanism similar to that of the human ear: the fabric medium functions as the tympanic membrane, converting acoustic pressure waves into mechanical vibrations that may then be processed into electrical impulses. Only a minimal amount of specialised piezoelectric fibre is necessary to make cloth acoustically sensitive. Tens of square metres of fabric microphones can be made from a single fibre, and they can detect even very low sound signals like human speech.

Anyone outside of fabric research circles would be perplexed by the urge to build t-shirts that can listen to you. However, the researchers believe that this fabric transformation could have a wide range of uses, from law enforcement to heart health monitoring. The researchers, for example, used a shirt with different threads stitched into different areas on the body to discern the direction of incoming noises using the time delay between signal detection. According to the researchers, police officers may use such a garment to narrow down the position of a gunshot, and people with hearing aids could use it to listen in specific directions while suppressing background noise.

There are even more options for folks who have difficulties hearing. With modest alterations, the fabric may be made to generate audible noises and detect them, allowing communication between deaf persons who are both wearing the cloth.

Wearable two-way communication systems could also make it possible for humans to communicate underwater. When draped across the skin of your chest, the fabrics may pick up cardiac signals, thereby turning your shirt into a stethoscope that may monitor your heart and respiratory status in a comfortable, continuous, and long-term manner. Most importantly, the fabric is still easy to maintain, allowing it to be placed in the washing machine after a long day of listening.

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