The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on innovative approaches to enhance the design and performance of Advanced Smart Textile (AST) systems – think clothing embedded with an array of active technology capabilities – and is emphasizing individual component integration.

In a request for information (RFI) published to, IARPA said it wants to accelerate the making of Smart Electrically Powered and Networked Textile Systems (SMART e-PANTS) that could be used by national security officials, first responders, professional athletes, and others who work in high-stress settings.

“The military, first responders, and professional athletes alike desire electronics that can help keep people safe by sensing, processing, and communicating information on individuals’ location and physical surroundings. Integration of these capabilities into textiles for greater capability, comfort, and convenience has long been envisioned, free of uncomfortable, bulky, rigid devices strapped to their bodies,” the RFI noted.

Though SMART e-PANTS are being developed with a focus on advanced technological elements, IARPA envisions them looking like regular clothing down the line.

The RFI listed six components IARPA is interested in incorporating within ASTs:

  1. Sensors that capture audio, video, and geolocation information.
  2. Power sources that utilizes body heat or excretion as an energy source.
  3. Microprocessors and other devices for computation and data storage.
  4. Data transfer systems.
  5. Wires to enable connections between AST elements.
  6. Haptics that indicate a “device status to the wearer by changing shape, size, vibration, or producing some other discernable user response.”

Interested vendors must submit their ideas by Jan. 31.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.