Science of Sustenance – e-Clothing

Go Lean Commentary

Basic needs (food, clothing & shelter) and cutting-edge technologies, what a conundrum?!

A lot of science/technology goes into the harvesting of food, and the construction of houses, but clothing has a “leg up”, in that the science is emerging to where people can wear their technology.

CU Blog - Science of Sustenance - e-Clothing - Photo 6Welcome to the new age! This is called e-Clothing (electronic-embedded clothing) or e-Textile, a subset of “Materials Sciences” – see Appendix below.

This imagery is so remindful of the old television cartoon show, The Jetsons. It debuted in 1962 telling stories of what the writers envisioned the year 2062 would be like. In those 55 years, the actual technologies have changed, so if envisioned again, what do we now think the year 2062 will look like.

This re-imagining was done; see Appendix VIDEO below.

This commentary presses the point about innovations in wearable technologies; the purpose tends to not be fashion, but function; (there are some fashion statements with flashing lights; see Appendix). There are a lot of circumstances where embedded technologies in clothing would be advantageous; consider:

  • Performance enhancing – technologies to improve and enhance movement and skills.
    CU Blog - Science of Sustenance - e-Clothing - Photo 2
  • Disease Management – diagnostics of medical conditions to alert stakeholders of declining health metrics; consider blood pressure, blood sugar, temperature and pulse rate.
    Microsoft PowerPoint - 5909233016169432_fig3 [Read-Only] [Compat

Considering the Appendix VIDEO below, it would appear that future innovations are expected to take place in places other than the Caribbean. That would be a sad disposition. This point was highlighted in the book Go Lean…Caribbean; it purports that a new industrial revolution is emerging in the world and that Caribbean people and society must engage. This is pronounced at the outset of the Go Lean book in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 14), with this opening statement:

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

So there must be Caribbean participants in this global race to create technological solutions to better deliver on basic needs. This commentary is 3 of 4 in a series on the modern advances in science for delivering basic needs: energy, food, clothing and shelter. While it is possible to deliver these basic needs without science, our modern world is defined by the advances of science and their impact on daily life. The full series for our consideration follows this pattern:

  1.    Science of Sustenance: Energy
  2.    Science of Sustenance: Food
  3.    Science of Sustenance: Clothing
  4.    Science of Sustenance: Shelter

The Go Lean book’s assertion is that innovations will spurn new economic activity, improve lives and lower our overall cost of living.

Clothing is undeniably a basic need, but e-Clothing is associated more with progress. All people in our region need clothes and yet we do not source our own clothing. We have no textile industry (cotton, wool, linen, leather, etc.). There is art and science associated with the subject of apparels. The art is considered fashion; and Caribbean stakeholders have made a great impact in the fashion industry – remember Oscar De La Renta. But art and fashion does not have to be the limited for the Caribbean vocation – tailoring, dress-making, arts-and-crafts – in this apparel eco-system. For the most part, our clothing needs are imported products, but we can still better provide for the region’s clothing needs, and depend less on globalization.

The book Go Lean… Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This effort will marshal the region to avail the opportunities associated with technology and clothing. The CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines – including clothing solutions – in order to grow the regional economy.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean roadmap calls for the immediate adoption of the community ethos to foster information technology innovation. This was the original motivation of the Go Lean roadmap, an interdependence of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean to offset the effects of globalization. This statement was also pronounced early in the book on the same page of the Declaration of Interdependence as above:

xxx. Whereas the effects of globalization can be felt in every aspect of Caribbean life, from the acquisition of food and clothing, to the ubiquity of ICT, the region cannot only consume, it is imperative that our lands also produce and add to the international community, even if doing so requires some sacrifice and subsidy.

There is a lot at stake for the Caribbean in considering this subject area. According to the subsequent article, there are scientific developments to power the chips embedded in textiles using body heat. Just think of this innovation: 98.6 degrees is a lot of heat that humans generate. If only that body energy can be captured and harnessed to power electronics in e-Clothing and/or e-Textiles. According to this article, there is progress:

Title: Wearable integrated thermocells based on gel electrolytes use body heat as power source

CU Blog - Science of Sustenance - e-Clothing - Photo 1Summary: Electronics integrated into textiles are gaining in popularity: Systems like smartphone displays in a sleeve or sensors to detect physical performance in athletic wear have already been produced. The main problem with these systems tends to be the lack of a comfortable, equally wearable source of power. Scientists are now aiming to obtain the necessary energy from body heat. They have now introduced a flexible, wearable thermocell based on two different gel electrolytes.

Electronics integrated into textiles are gaining in popularity: Systems like smartphone displays in a sleeve or sensors to detect physical performance in athletic wear have already been produced. The main problem with these systems tends to be the lack of a comfortable, equally wearable source of power. Chinese scientists are now aiming to obtain the necessary energy from body heat. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, they have introduced a flexible, wearable thermocell based on two different gel electrolytes.

Our muscle activity and metabolism cause our bodies to produce constant heat, some of which is released through the skin into the environment. Because of the relatively small temperature difference between skin (approximately 32 °C) and the temperature of our surroundings, it is not so easy to make use of body heat. Previous thermoelectric generators, such as those based on semiconductors, produce too little energy, are costly, or are too brittle for use in wearable systems. Thermocells with electrolyte solutions are difficult to integrate into extensive wearable systems. A team led by Jun Zhou at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (Wuhan, China) has now found a solution to this problem: thermocells with gel-based electrolytes.

The researchers are making use of the thermogalvanic effect: if two electrodes in contact with an electrolyte solution — or an electrolyte gel — are kept at different temperatures, a potential difference is generated. The ions of a redox pair in the electrolyte can rapidly switch between two different charge states, accepting or releasing electrons at electrodes with different temperature. In order to use this to produce a current, the scientists combined two types of cells containing two different redox pairs. Each cell consists of two tiny metal plates that act as electrodes, with an electrolyte gel in between. The first cell type contains the Fe2+/Fe3+ redox pair. The second type of cell contains the complex ions [Fe(CN)6]3-/[Fe(CN)6]4-. Because of the choice of these redox pairs, in cell type 1, the cold end gives a negative potential, while in type 2, the cold end gives a positive potential.

The researchers arranged many of these two types of cells into a checkerboard pattern. The cells were connected to each other by metal plates alternating above and below, to link them into a series. They then integrated this “checkerboard” into a glove. When the glove is worn, the desired temperature difference results between the upper and lower plates. This produces a voltage between neighboring cells, and the voltage adds up. This makes it possible to generate current to power a device or charge a battery.

In an environment at 5 °C, it was possible to produce 0.7 volts and about 0.3 μW. By optimizing this system, it should be possible to improve the power, even with smaller temperature gradients.

Reference: Peihua Yang, Kang Liu, Qian Chen, Xiaobao Mo, Yishu Zhou, Song Li, Guang Feng, Jun Zhou. Wearable Thermocells Based on Gel Electrolytes for the Utilization of Body HeatAngewandte Chemie International Edition, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201606314

Source: Science Daily e-Zine – Posted September 6, 2016; retrieved 02-04-2017 from:

This foregoing article is describing the dynamics of Research-and-Development (R&D). It is an attitude, a spirit, a motivation and a sentiment. The Go Lean book describes this as community ethos, the appropriate attitude/spirit to forge change in our region. R&D is cited as one of the community ethos the Caribbean region needs to adopt. This will foster the climate, environment and atmosphere to forge change in e-Clothing deliveries. Engaging this ethos early can result in many new jobs, and entrepreneurial opportunities. This is how to succeed in a world dominated by globalization; we must not only consume, we must produce as well. The Go Lean book details R&D and other ethos to adopt, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to forge Research-and-Development and industrial growth in Caribbean communities:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments (ROI) Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development Page 30
Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Growing Economy – New High Multiplier Industries Page 68
Separation of Powers – Patent, Standards, & Copyrights Office Page 82
Separation of Powers – Health Department – Diagnostic Services Page 86
Separation of Powers – Drug [and Medical Devices] Administration Page 87
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Implement Self-Government Entities Page 105
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Healthcare Page 156
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Entitlements Page 158
Advocacy – Ways to Better Provide Clothing Page 163
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Elder-Care Page 225
Appendix – Healthways Model – Disease Management Data Capture Page 300

Historically, the Caribbean has been quick to consume technological advances. Now we want to be quick to produce the technology, not just consume it. Some Caribbean communities are doing this already, consider Cuba with their research in cancer drugs. Other Caribbean R&D activities have been detailed in these previous blog-commentaries: Where the Jobs Are – Animation and Game Design Zika’s Drug Breakthrough Lessons from China – R&D for Mobile Game Apps US Patent Office: Model of Innovation and Abuse Google’s R&D efforts in Puerto Rico Caribbean R&D on the new cycles of flooding & drought Future Caribbean Astronauts – Not so improbable CARCIP Urges Greater Caribbean Innovation thru R&D Puerto RicoCancerR&DCenter Project Breaks Ground

Change has come to the world of textiles and clothing; these changes must also be forged, researched and developed in the Caribbean region. We must be able to better provide our clothing. This is one of the basic needs that we must convene, collaborate and cooperate on as a region. This helps to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.

But we must also be able to contribute to the new world of performance-enhancing and diagnostic e-Clothes.

The people and institutions of the region are hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap, to embrace all these empowerments efforts to reboot our region. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix – e-Textiles

E-textiles, also known as smart garmentssmart clothingelectronic textilessmart textiles, or smart fabrics, are fabrics that enable digital components (including small computers), and electronics to be embedded in them. Smart textiles are fabrics that have been developed with new technologies that provide added value to the wearer. Pailes-Friedman of the Pratt Institute states that “what makes smart fabrics revolutionary is that they have the ability to do many things that traditional fabrics cannot, including communicate, transform, conduct energy and even grow”.[1]

Smart textiles can be broken into two different categories: aesthetic and performance enhancing. Aesthetic examples include fabrics that light up and fabrics that can change color. Some of these fabrics gather energy from the environment by harnessing vibrations, sound or heat, reacting to these inputs. Performance enhancing smart textiles are intended for use in athletic, extreme sports and military applications. These include fabrics designed to regulate body temperature, reduce wind resistance, and control muscle vibration – all of which may improve athletic performance. Other fabrics have been developed for protective clothing, to guard against extreme environmental hazards, such as radiation and the effects of space travel.[2] The health and beauty industry is also taking advantage of these innovations, which range from drug-releasing medical textiles, to fabric with moisturizer, perfume, and anti-aging properties.[1] Many smart clothing, wearable technology, and wearable computing projects involve the use of e-textiles.[3]

Electronic textiles are distinct from wearable computing because emphasis is placed on the seamless integration of textiles with electronic elements like microcontrollers, sensors, and actuators. Furthermore, e-textiles need not be wearable. For instance, e-textiles are also found in interior design.

CU Blog - Science of Sustenance - e-Clothing - Photo 7The related field of fibretronics explores how electronic and computational functionality can be integrated into textile fibers.

A new report from Cientifica Research examines the markets for textile based wearable technologies, the companies producing them and the enabling technologies. The report identifies three distinct generations of textile wearable technologies:

  1. “First generation” attach a sensor to apparel. This approach is currently taken by sportswear brands such as Adidas, Nike and Under Armour
  2. “Second generation” products embed the sensor in the garment, as demonstrated by current products from Samsung, Alphabet, Ralph Lauren and Flex.
  3. In “third generation” wearables, the garment is the sensor. A growing number of companies are creating pressure, strain and temperature sensors for this purpose.

Future applications for e-textiles may be developed for sports and well-being products, and medical devices for patient monitoring. Technical textiles, fashion and entertainment will also be significant applications.[4]

CU Blog - Science of Sustenance - e-Clothing - Photo 5

Source:  Retrieved February 4, 2017 from:


Appendix VIDEO – The World of The Jetsons, reimagined –

Published on Nov 15, 2016 – The world of The Jetsons gets a scientific makeover. Arconic has reimagined the year 2062 through the eyes of leading futurists, our engineers and filmmaker Justin Lin. This futuristic world features advanced technologies—flying cars and extra tall, 3D-printed buildings—that Arconic’s materials science and manufacturing experts could help bring to life.

Arconic is built on an extraordinary heritage of innovation that began with Alcoa’s founding in 1888. We have helped shape the aerospace, automotive and building and construction industries since the days of the Wright brothers, Henry Ford and the first modern downtowns. Today, as Arconic, we continue to build on more than a century of innovation to help transform the way we fly, drive, build and power. Arconic is where the future takes shape.

Learn more at

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