the IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity) embarks on the project of creating real connected clothes, as comfortable to wear as ordinary outfits. It includes shirts, pants, and underwear, which must be able to record video, audio, and geolocation.
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Have you always dreamed of having a GPS and a camera in your briefs? No ? This far-fetched idea is however a project IARPA couldn’t be more serious (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity), the research arm of the US intelligence community. The project, funded by the government up to $22 millionis called Smart ePants (literally “connected e-pants”), a (bad) pun on the expression ” smarty pants » which could be translated « smart guy ».
And pants is to be understood in the American sense of pantsand not in the UK sense of slip, the project does include underwear. However, the goal is to create a whole range of connected clothing (shirts, pants, socks, etc.) capable of recording video, audio and geolocation.
Interview with IARPA’s Dawnson Cagle about the Smart ePants project. (In English, turn on automatic translation of subtitles.) © Office of the Director of National Intelligence
A project planned over 42 months
The goal is not to create miniaturized devices that can be hidden in clothing, but to develop smart textiles where electronic components are directly integrated into the fabric. The project therefore aims to integrate conductive threads, energy sources, sensors and a system for processing and storing information. All of these elements should be flexible, stretchable and washable. Connected clothing should be just as comfortable as normal clothing.
The project is expected to last 42 months, and the wearables aren’t just for spies. The agency also wants to equip the police and rescue teams who intervene at crime scenes.
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