The catalog of smart textiles for the future is teeming with cognitive intelligence—fabrics that serve as interactive surfaces or are embedded with sheets of tiny microprocessors, little solar batteries, or antimicrobial properties. But these materials may miss the point. The textile arts, after all, have their origins in comfort—rugs that keep our feet off the cold floor, curtains and wall hangings that keep out the draft, quilts that keep us cozy at night. What may have more value, both stylistically and holistically, is not so much a conventionally smart textile, but one that has emotional intelligence—kind of an electric blanket for the soul.
April 27, 2010