Within the last 6 years, there has been a palpable surge in interest and investment into wearable technology and Smart Textiles & Apparel, manifested both in academia and in the wide array of aspirational products available on the market. Recent market research on wearables also forecasts further growth in the next 3 years. However, as the field becomes increasingly saturated, potential terminology confusion and misconceptions may arise particularly among those in the industry who may not deal directly with the technologies but have interest in applying it to their work. Therefore in an attempt to provide clarity on an increasingly popular field to those perhaps less familiar with it, this chapter delivers an introductory overview of wearable technology and Smart Textiles & Apparel, which clarifies terminology encompassed within the field, reviews recent statistics and maps out how developments have been evolving over time, and assesses some of the challenges confronting the field.
Part of the book: Smart and Functional Soft Materials