Wearable healthcare devices have a big market estimated at around $18-20 billion in 2020. Fibers@MIT, a research group at MIT, has developed a digital fiber with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities which could well be setting Moore’s law in motion for computational fabrics. This digital fiber can create great value in the wearable healthcare devices market.
The research group Fibers@MIT, has advanced the experiments with electronic textiles and developed what they call a digital fiber, with the capacity to not just store information about the user’s movement and vital signs. However, it has machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities enabling recognition of patterns and anomalies in the user’s health.
Primarily, this is an innovation in the functionality of the chips, while how the electronics are embedded in the fiber has seen several experiments in the textile space. The process of fitting multiple electronic devices within a single textile fiber is derived from what is called the “thermal drawing process” in optical fiber technology.
This technology is also very recent in electronics, however, the research team at MIT is not the first to use it in textiles. Professor Yoel Fink heads the research group of Fibers@MIT and hints that this technology could potentially give rise to Moore’s law for computational fabrics, dramatically improving its computation power and cost-effectiveness.
The earlier functionalities of just monitoring and recording the user’s vitals may soon become old even before they hit the critical mass commercially. As professor Fink expects, greater computing capabilities of this digital fiber could help inform about the wearer’s health problems much faster than now, a vital feature in the post-COVID world.