Christian Dalsgaard, founder of smart textile and technology company Ohmatex

Christian Dalsgaard, founder of smart textile and technology company Ohmatex

Everything from a sock that detects early heart failure, to a smart shirt that measures biometric data with medical precision, and a shoe that can communicate via haptic feedback while also acting as a navigational tool, were displayed in London last week. Experts speaking at the Wearable Technology Show shared their views on the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. 

“I really think that what we’re doing right now is also the future, meaning that it would not be something that would change radically. We will go from things that are known today as wearable technology, but we’ll move into an industrialisation,” Christian Dalsgaard, founder of smart textile and technology company Ohmatex

“We're going to see a new class of connector solutions emerge that's going to be cheap enough to make almost anything possible. I think that's really what's starting to emerge in the next year or two,” Nick Langston, senior business manager at connector manufacturer and sensor solutions provider TE Connectivity

"I consider the small start-ups to be the pioneers in the market to push new ideas, new concepts to the customers, and the big brands to later follow,” Christian Hofmann from German research organisation Fraunhofer

“I think the reality is we're still so early into integrating technology into textiles that we're not seeing things at a larger scale...We need to be more active in integrating into the home and to areas where these devices can collaborate,” Marco Della Torre, CEO of technology firm Basis 

"What we see right now is a lot of collaboration with different companies...It's difficult because it's such a new industry that a lot of collaboration needs to happen in order for people to make a really good product. Not everyone can do a smart garment, sensors and electronics. It's quite difficult right now,” Michelle Hua, founder of Made With Glove, a start-up firm working to produce women’s fashionable heated gloves

"People call it wearable technology, but in reality it's just fashion... It's not a fad, it's just the beginning of what the future should look like,” Francesca Rosella, director at haute couture wearable technology fashion company Cute Circuit, speaking about wearable technology within textiles and garments

"I think smart is something that first monitors your body, processes that data and then reacts to that data in a specific programmed way, so that you could have weather conditioned garments, which make you cooler when you're hot or which warm you up when you're cold,” Mikko Malmivaara, sales and marketing manager at Clothing Plus, which integrates biometric sensors for sports and medical applications

"I think we have a real opportunity here to carve out garments as a new thing. We need to create new landscapes and opportunities in this space rather than rethinking existing technologies for textiles. I think the whole way in which we're approaching it needs to be much more wide-eyed," Lynne Murray, director of the Fashion Digital Studio at London College of Fashion 

"I think innovation happens where these industries meet, and so far it's been a difficult marriage trying to bring everybody together," Cath Rogan, principal of textile and garment consultancy firm Smart Garment People