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Smart Clothing Could Soon Be Part of Your Wardrobe

An e-textile expert talks about the future of garments with built-in electronics

4 min read
The Commuter X jacket from Jacquard by Google has a battery-operated snap tag on the sleeve that communicates with the wearer’s smartphone.
The Commuter X jacket from Jacquard by Google has a battery-operated snap tag on the sleeve that communicates with the wearer’s smartphone.
Photo: Google

THE INSTITUTEWearable technology, once the domain of rigid fitness wristbands and health monitors, is showing more of its softer side. High-tech companies and designers are increasingly moving to incorporate sensors to create smart clothing. By simply touching the cuff of a shirt, for example, a wearer might activate smartphone apps.

Google has teamed up with the Levi Strauss Co. to offer a clothing line, Jacquard by Google, that has conductive thread woven in. Its new Commuter X jacket [above], which sells for US $350, includes a battery-operated snap tag that lights up when the wearer’s smartphone receives a text message and vibrates when a ride-hailing car arrives.

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Sony
Blue
Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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