Textile design is one of those fields that seems like it never changes all that much. Wallpaper is wallpaper. A rug is a rug. Right?
Wrong. A new crop of tech-minded designers is adding futuristic spins on everything from carpets to clothes and more. The book Textile Visionaries: Innovation and Sustainability in Textile Design (Laurence King, 2013) rounds up some of today’s most innovative projects, including textiles that can detect heat in humans, change colors in response to electrical currents, and light up in the presence of a threat.
Some of the designs might be too weird to ever go mainstream–does anyone really want to wear a dress that looks like a shattered vase?–but the takeaway is clear: The textiles of tomorrow won’t just passively pretty up our environment; they’ll actively help shape it. Here’s a gallery of our 10 favorite projects.