What will we be wearing in the future? Whether they’re invisible or made out of chicken feathers, the fabrics that make up our clothes are changing. One of these may be made up of something that grows so fast it’s almost considered a weed in Asia: bamboo. And finally, a machine has been invented that can spin silk as strong as spiders.

Bamboo is widely available in Japan, China, India and other countries, and bamboo fabric is soft, durable and elastic. It hangs as gracefully as silk, and has an attractive, lustrous sheen. Bamboo is also one of the world?s fastest growing plants, reaching maturity in about 3-4 years, compared to 25 to 70 years for commercial tree species in the US.

Chemist Subhash Appidi says, “Bamboo is environmentally friendly. Pesticides and other agents are necessary to grow most other natural fibers?there is nothing like that in bamboo production.”

In BBC News, Jonathan Fildes reports that other scientists have developed tiny fibers that generate electrical energy from movement. If woven into cloth that is then made into clothing, we could power electric appliances (and video games) with our bodies.

Fildes also reports that a device has been built which can produce fibers which?like silk?are incredibly light in weight but 5 times stronger than steel.

He quotes researcher Dianne Jones as saying, “The ability to generate power for personal electronics using the clothing we wear would be a breakthrough in smart and interactive garments.” We already have clothes that spy on us, but what we REALLY need are pants that hem themselves!

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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