British company Eleksen has developed a new technology to manufacture sensors and switches from textiles, enabling electronic components to be integrated into clothing.

According to a report in the Siemens research magazine 'Pictures of the Future,' the textile sensors can measure how hard they are pressed and also whether moisture is present.

Eleksen - which is backed by Siemens Venture Capital - says the 'intelligent fabric' is also flexible and can be sewn or washed.

The fabric consists of a layer of insulating material, into which the individual conductive fibres are woven, which is sandwiched between two external, electrically conductive nylon layers.

When pressure is exerted on the outer layers the low measuring voltage across them changes. A sensor detects this change and determines the amount of pressure exerted and its position.

Eleksen is now working on weaving individual sensor threads into textiles.