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While society is debating around 5G Tactile internet, industries are connecting robots and exploring design with VR. However, the fashion industry is taking a slow approach, partly because fashion is very different from other sectors.

image from ultraleap.com

It's easier to deal with rigid materials and objects, for example, when designing a car or an elevator.  But fashion is made out of textiles, which are soft and delicate in handling.

Apart from the variety of textiles, the biggest issue is that visually identical fabrics behave differently. Additionally, we are so critical to every small difference in the fit and feel of our clothing, that, even with the advancement of rendering techniques, we still mistrust 3D when it comes to fashion.

simulation of different textile drape
work by Marie Lund "Sweater and Concrete"

The tactile sensation is a vital part of fashion that is strongly connected to our body memory because we wear our clothing every day. Interestingly, tactility can be partly triggered by visual images. Work by Marie Lund "Sweater and Concrete" demonstrates this in a very artistic way. We know it is a hard concrete block, but from the texture and drape, we get a cozy feeling of a warm and soft sweater. 

means for fashion?
Textile Sculpture by Andreas Barden

From designers using their hands once again to drape and cut fabrics virtually, consumers touching garments on the virtual hangers, to brands applying new touch & feel effects in their campaigns, tactile internet will manifest true fashion. Fashion that is vibrant, alive, and rich in sensations.

How far are we?

The mechanism of Tactile internet is very simple:

sensing   -   processing   -   actuation

To complete all these three stages Tactile Internet requires Robotics, advanced AI & ICT, Haptic Tech, and high-speed internet to orchestrate all the information. Technology is advancing fast, 5G is around the corner and there are many promising solutions that can perfectly fit fashion. However, the fashion industry itself is far more behind to use those advanced technologies.

YES, tech companies can build tools for us and

YES, Tactile internet will not happen overnight

BUT fashion has to adjust the way it operates to align with this exciting for the industry future. 

SENSTILE takes part in the research of sensing textiles, processing that information, and actuating it through different features and simulations.  Transmission of the right sensations to our skin and bodies through the haptics is yet to see. But for sure, the i-tactile future is diverse. It will host many different technologies working alongside in a synchronized way, and we have to put our minds around on how to make it work for fashion!