This Amazing High-Tech Clothing Will Heal in the Wash @PennStateMatSE #wearabletech #WearableWednesday


Clothing, especially pants and socks, are prone to holes. Some of you may be patient and try to stitch them, while others may just throw them away. However, our future may some day include self repairing clothing. A research group at Penn State has created a polymer coating that enables normal textiles to repair themselves in the wash, according to E&T Magazine. It’s based on the same technology as squids. Uhm, what? I had to go to the source, Penn State News, for this one.

Polyelectrolyte coatings are made up of positively and negatively charged polymers, in this case polymers like those in squid ring teeth proteins.


“Fashion designers use natural fibers made of proteins like wool or silk that are expensive and they are not self-healing,” said Melik C. Demirel, professor of engineering science and mechanics. “We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles. So we came up with this coating technology.”

There’s a lot more potential for this fabric besides it’s self-repairing quality; it may be able to guard the wearer from threats. Think of it as a protective skin embedded with the antidote.

“If you need to use enzymes for biological or chemical effects, you can have an encapsulated enzyme with self-healing properties degrade the toxin before it reaches the skin,” said Demirel.

You can see that this technology would be perfect for people doing hazardous work like fire-fighters, chemical workers, policemen and farmers. It’s no surprise that support for the project is from The Army Research Office and the Office of Naval Research. I’d be curious if the process can be used for scuba wear considering divers are hired to investigate oil spills. Considering the coating is less than a micron thick, I think consumers may even have a shot at seeing this in stores for sportswear. The real problem is that this product is the opposite of planned obsolescence—it creates sustainability. Is the world ready for clothing that lasts a long time? That’s probably a decision that will have a lot to do with price point.

Textiles continue to be transformed, whether it be with coatings or fibers. One of my faves is conductive fabric because you can use it as a softer way to trigger electronics in clothing. Check out this soft Knit Jersey that’s a nice blend of cotton, silver yarn and spandex. What would you use it for?


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.