When we ran across a headline recently that defense contractor BAE was turning to clothing tech, we thought we might be onto a real old-fashioned scoop. After all, BAE produces some of the most cutting edge technology for the defense, aerospace, and security sectors all over the world. Now they’re moving into fashion?
Well, no. As we might have expected, the clothing to which the company is adding the technology is mostly olive drab or desert camo: military uniforms. It’s a vest that hides an electronic network and power supply. Which is pretty cool, even if the only runway you’ll ever see it on belongs to the military.
The Broadsword Spine is an e-textile layer that, when incorporated into clothing, gives the wearer a concealed power supply and electronic network without wires and cables—and, best of all, without a lot of extra weight. Plugging devices into their uniforms via USB gives users instant access to power and data.
The vest requires some battery power, but only one kind of battery rather than the multiple types the devices use without the Broadsword Spine. No cables and wires makes moving around in buildings and vehicles easier and less problematic. From Paul Burke, Defense Information and Technology Director, Military Air and Information:
Broadsword Spine will deliver a lightweight, cable free alternative to existing systems. Broadsword Spine offers an open architecture, meaning it could be used to power communications used by anyone from a soldier on the battlefield to a first responder called to an emergency.”
It might not be fashion, but you’ve gotta admit, it’s still a beautiful idea.