Developing Wash-and-Wear Tech

The Department of Defense is partnering with the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America consortium to establish a new manufacturing innovation to create wearable technology that can “see, hear, sense, communicate, store energy, regulate temperature, monitor health, change color” and more, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Friday. The Pentagon will invest $75 million into the project, while public- and private-sector partners have contributed more than $240 million, Carter said at the announcement at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the new institute will be headquartered. “Revolutionary fibers and textiles have enormous potential for our defense mission,” Carter said, giving examples of sensors woven into parachutes that could catch small tears, and uniforms with embedded electronics to detect chemical and radioactive threats. “The reality is that, as I stand here, we don’t know all the advances this new technology will make possible,” he said. “That’s the remarkable thing about innovation, and it’s another reason why America and America’s military must get there first.” (See also: Making the DOD More Googley.)