Terrorism has become an integral part of everyday life in recent years and has dramatically affected the quality of life for individuals in society. Technology is the key to combating terrorism and protecting ordinary citizens and first responders from danger. Textiles are pervasive and the array of polymers, fibers and manufacturing technologies enable the creation of large shape-conformable surface areas that can serve as viable platforms for sensors – human worn and environmental – to detect, possibly prevent, and protect against the devastating results of acts of terrorism. In this paper, we present a typical “terrorist incident response scenario” and discuss the need for a systems approach to enhancing personal protection and safety. We discuss the various types of threats, identify the types of individual protection needed for the various threats, and discuss the threat-specific parameters that need to be monitored. Finally, we present the need for – and identify unique aspects of – research in the various building blocks of this emerging discipline of intelligent textiles for personal protection and safety.
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