British Military to Test Conductive Fabric in Uniforms

A new electrically conductive yarn could turn British military uniforms into “smart fabrics” that eliminate batteries and cables, and provide uniforms with a single power source.

A UK firm, Intelligent Textiles, showed off the e-textiles in a demo at an event organized by the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), which has provided a £234,000 investment through its Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI). The hope is that conductive fabrics could help replace the multiple batteries now needed to power each soldier’s equipment.

In an interview with the BBC, company director Asha Thompson said that the new fabric is integrated with a vest, shirt, helmet cover, backpack, gloves and weapons platform. “One of the problems with conventional cables is that breakages can be catastrophic,” Thompson said. “What we do here is build in redundancy, so that if the fabric gets cut, damaged or torn, we still have a way of re-routing the data.”

Intelligent Textiles still has to ruggedize the fabric for use outdoors, and is also working on a fabric keyboard that can be used with a portable computer integrated into the uniform. Field trials are set to commence in May.

You can read more about conductive textiles here,


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