The implementation of technology into clothing could pose new issues related to privacy, experts have warned.
ITBusiness.ca reports that as new gadgets become interwoven into garments – which may range from practical communications equipment for military personnel to fashion items that can shape colour and even shape thanks to computer chips, motors and batteries – questions are being raised over the potential features of such devices.
Marie O'Mahony, professor of advanced textiles for fashion design at OCAD University in Toronto, said privacy needs to be addressed as the technology becomes more effective and less cumbersome than in the past.
She told an audience at a meeting of wearable technology experts: "We have to get to the point where [the wearable tech] is not controlling us, we're controlling it."
One example of potential problems highlighted by the expert is clothing that contains sensors that can detect a person's mood or physical condition.
Ariel Garten, chief executive of thought-controlled computing firm InteraXon, suggested these could be used for functions such as connecting with music players and switching to upbeat songs if it senses a wearer is unhappy, or automatically dimming lights and softening music in a digitally-connected room if a person is found to be tired.
Prof O'Mahoney observed this technology could present an issue if individuals do not wish to have this personal information signalled on their clothing or reflected in the environment.
Therefore, there must be safeguards built into such technology that can allow people to override automatic adjustments.
The expert also said it is important that future applications for wearable gadgets strike a balance between functionality and comfort, as well as looking fashionable.
"I want technology that anyone can wear [without] feeling like a dork," Prof O'Mahony said.
Earlier this year, it was stated by Dr Brock Craft, physical computing lecturer at Goldsmiths, that incorporating new technology into interactive clothing is becoming an increasing consideration for fashion designers.
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