"Nevertheless, it is clear," Zimmermann continues, "that as a power source, there is currently no way around a battery. Other possibilities of the power supply, for example through self-generated power in shoe soles, etc, are far from realisation." The next product was a curtain, which could also serve as a source for light, which Forster Rohner developed for interiors company Creation Baumann. Since last year, when thanks to luminous LED sequins the evening wear of the Swiss high fashion label Akris sparkled on the runways and US Company Switch Embassy presented a T-shirt with a luminous lettering for a public relations campaign, the interest in the new technology has been great.
"The technology inspired many, and we are getting a lot of inquiries from different areas", said Zimmermann. The possible application areas for the new lighting technology are widely spread. The palette ranges from fashion, sportswear and interior manufacturers to medical applications. "We have shown that the technology is ready for the market. Now we are looking for suitable partners who want to develop our product for mass production," says Zimmermann.
The next new idea in the field of wearable technology is to implement a heating system in clothing. Several companies have been experimenting with the idea, but a convincing solution is not yet in the market. "The biggest challenges are costs," Zimmermann says. "The market is price-sensitive, and no one is willing to cut margins or accept higher retail prices. But adding technology always means higher prices." Forster Rohner and German wearable technology specialist Interactive Wear are working on a new and more competitive solution to integrate a heating system in clothing. It will be presented this fall.