JUST IN: Former Kimono Maker Now Spinning Counter-EW Fabric

By Stew Magnuson

Mitsufuji Corp. photo

CHIBA, Japan — A Japanese company that once specialized in sewing together ceremonial kimonos is now making fabric that can counter electronic warfare energy.

Mitsufuji Corp., based in Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital, is offering products made out of a special electro-magnetic shielding fabric that could be made into a tent that could protect electronics from either being fried by an energy pulse or probed in a cyber-attack, said Mizuzuki Gamou, chief public relations expert at the company.

As a bonus, the fabric is flame resistant and waterproof, she said on the sidelines of the DSEI Japan trade show in Chiba.

“This is all you need in one fabric for protection,” she said.

The thread is silver coated, which thwarts electro-magnetic energy and is the brainchild of Hideyuki Mitera, senior manager and textile technology expert at the company. The special fabric was the result of 20 years of research, she said.

Mitsufuji was established in 1966 in the ancient city of Kyoto, the one-time capital of Japan known for its many temples and geishas, who are still today seen walking in the city’s old entertainment district wearing elaborate, colorful kimonos. As the family-owned company transitioned to its second generation of leadership, it did an about face and entered the technology sector.

Along with the anti-EW fabric, the same material has another application as wearable sensors.

The silver-coated fabric can be part of a band for a smartwatch, be sewn as a strip on shirts, or inside a belt strap. The fabric can keep track of a warfighters’ vital signs and transmit the data to a cloud-based application, she said.

The wristwatch can also alert users to heatstroke risk by monitoring their pulse and body temperature, she said. “We have discovered a correlation between heart rate data and the rise of core body temperature with the help of a university specializing in occupational and environmental health,” she said.

“All you have to do is put this on. No internet is necessary,” she said. It will flash yellow when the user is entering a danger zone.

Most wearable sensors are vulnerable to body motion “noise,” but the special fabric, when worn on the chest, monitors vital signs and eliminates that interference, she said.

The Japanese Self Defense Force has used the wearable tech to monitor soldiers in experiments, she said. Other markets for the wearable technology include hospitals and athletes.

Meanwhile, the company no longer makes kimonos, she said, preferring instead to pursue these other “wearable” markets.


Topics: Global Defense Market

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