IARPA Leads First-of-its-kind Effort to Fashion Smart Clothing

IARPA Leads First-of-its-kind Effort to Fashion Smart Clothing


ODNI News Release No. 24-23

August 22, 2023


IARPA Leads First-of-its-kind Effort to Fashion Smart Clothing


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) — the advanced research and development arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — recently launched a cutting-edge program that aims to make performance-grade, computerized clothing a reality.


The Smart Electrically Powered and Networked Textile Systems (SMART ePANTS) program represents the largest single investment to develop Active Smart Textiles (AST) that feel, move, and function like any garment. Resulting innovations stand to provide the Intelligence Community (IC), Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies with durable, ready-to-wear clothing that can record audio, video, and geolocation data. This eTextile technology could also assist personnel and first responders in dangerous, high-stress environments, such as crime scenes and arms control inspections without impeding their ability to swiftly and safely operate.


“IARPA is proud to lead this first-of-its-kind effort for both the IC and broader scientific community which will bring much-needed innovation to the field of ASTs,” said SMART ePANTS Program Manager, Dr. Dawson Cagle. “To date no group has committed the time and resources necessary to fashion the first integrated electronics that are stretchable, bendable, comfortable, and washable like regular clothing.”


Through a competitive Broad Agency Announcement, IARPA awarded SMART ePANTS prime research contracts to the following organizations, which together bring additional academic institutions, non-profits, and businesses into the program:


  • SRI International
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Nautilus Defense
  • Leidos, Inc.
  • Areté

IARPA’s Test and Evaluation partners at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Advanced Functional Fabrics of America will ensure the program stays on track to fulfill IARPA’s vision for ASTs of the future.


The SMART ePANTS program is anticipated to be a 42-month effort.


IARPA invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs to tackle some of the most difficult challenges of the agencies and disciplines in the Intelligence Community. Additional information on IARPA and its research may be found on www.iarpa.gov.