The US market for smart and interactive textiles was said to be worth around $64.4 million in 2004 and is expected to rise at an average annual growth rate of 36 per cent to $299.3 million in 2009 a new report says.

'The SMIT Report' from Businessinfo shows that consumer products including photochromic T-shirts and swimsuits accounted for the bulk of US SMIT sales in 2003 and 2004. Phase change and conductive textiles account for the rest of the market.

However, the report suggests that this is likely to change significantly over the next five years. The projected rapid growth of military, biomedical, and vehicle safety and comfort applications for SMIT is expected to have a major impact on both the size and structure of the market.

Sales of conductive fabric products are expected to nearly double each year between 2004 and 2009 and, with shape memory products entering the market in commercial quantities, the picture in 2009 is expected to be quite different.

To date, the US military has been the leader in developing SMIT technologies and applications for such areas as body armour, artificial muscles, biochemical hazard protection, physiological status monitoring, location, and embedded communications and computing.