Microscopic chain mail could embed sensors, electronics into clothing

It won't be too long before those new threads sport some kind of socially-infused assistants or help you regulate body temperature, but if researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have their say, your garb could end doing a lot more than that. Following up on discoveries made over six years ago at Harvard and Cambridge, the scientists have devised microscopic chain mail made from miniscule metal links, which could ultimately be woven into "3D textiles." Aside from feeling a bit like Sir Lancealot, the chain-like structures could have electronics and sensors built right in, and the flexible fabric could also conduct electricity when not beaming secret messages or being used as one large homing device for the cops to track you down. Novel as this may sound, wearing a proverbial lighting rod isn't really our bag, so hopefully the cotton biz will continue to do its own thing for old timers' sake.