After smartphones, smart TVs and smartwatches; we now have smart textiles! E-TEX is an IIT Delhi based start-up that firmly believes that the need of the hour is textiles that can go beyond their primitive function of covering the body. We need materials that are just as smart as the rest of our devices and have therapeutic, monitory and performance-enhancing uses.
Founded by two textile graduates- Anand Yadav and Harsh Gupta, along with Professor Bipin Kumar; the start-up already has quite a few innovative products to its name- Antiviral clothing, FABrelax, heating garments and health monitoring t-shirt, to name a few. They also have an entire range of inexpensive, protective masks and COVID special kits under their KAWACH brand.
Under their Antiviral line of clothing, they have t-shirts, shirts, aprons, socks, gloves and masks- the entire collection. These provide anti-viral and anti-odour protection and are crafted with material designed using advanced anti-viral technology to inhibit fabric from hosting bacteria and viruses actively. These antimicrobial effects last over time and are significantly effective up to the first thirty washes. These comfortable garments composed of ultra-soft premium cotton; mercerised and bio processed for smoother and softer feel are tested as per AATCC standard and were over 95% efficient.
FABrelax marketed as ‘your leg’s best friend’ is another exciting product that promises to massage and heal your body using compression therapy. It consists of a lightweight garment with an integrated circuit and a battery life of up to two hours which can be wrapped around the limb to increase blood circulation. Available in different styles and colours, this exploits the concept of static and dynamic compression. Specialised stockings (made from elastic garment apparel) provide static compression; these slowly stretch out vein walls and improve overall circulation, which helps eliminate swelling. Once put on, these allow for gradual constriction to work its way up the leg from the ankle. The socks or stockings serve as a replicated muscle, adding some pressure to contracting areas of restricted blood circulation in the portion, allowing veins to loosen up and reduce pain in the lower limbs. Alternately, dynamic leg compression is a form that mimics the contraction of natural muscles in your calves. By compressing your feet, it encourages the circulation of blood where it needs the most support. Which, in turn, can again help reduce swelling in your blood by allowing fresh blood, nutrients, and lymphatic fluid to help speed healing and recovery from fatigue, pain, cramps and related issues. Therefore, FABrelax is not only an effective way to improve circulation, flush lactic acid, and increase oxidation of muscle tissue, but it also helps you to get more oxygen throughout your body which in turn results in high performance.
Their soon-to-be-launched list of items consists of the heating garment and health monitoring t-shirt. Targeting frigid areas like Siachen, the heating garment looks and feels like any other jacket but has an entire circuitry integrated inside the fabric which keeps the user warm in icy cold weather. This circuit is detachable, which allows for the garment to be easily washed. Tiny batteries are used to power this circuit, and though they have a long battery life, they can be replaced when required by the user.
Health monitoring devices like smart-watches already exist, but why not have a health monitoring t-shirt? A watch can get its information only through the small area it’s in contact with, a t-shirt, however; is something that hugs the body and can monitor much more and with better accuracy. The t-shirts would measure blood oxygen level, temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, deep breathing, sweat rate and similar parameters which are deemed necessary by the medical community and can’t be accurately determined by your current smartwatches. These look like your regular t-shirts (high on the fashion of course) but come with a detachable circuit so it can be washed easily. As of now, fabrics with washable circuits seem challenging to construct, but Anand and his team are also working on it.
‘We are working on technologies that can disrupt the textile sector’ says Anand Yadav, CEO of E-TEX and their comfortable and luxurious textiles with special functionalities seem to be on the brink of doing just that.