Academics at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen are helping to create a range of garments that could help people suffering from life-threatening conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
An estimated 285 million people around the globe suffer from a form of diabetes.
The team believe that embedding miniscule sensors and electronics within compatible fabrics could help detect variations in a sufferer's temperature or blood sugar levels.
The university's design professor, Julian Malins, said the new "smart clothing" could one day administer insulin to patients.
He said: "The combination of modern materials and advances in micro-electronics offers opportunities for the design of a new generation of smart clothing which has the potential to directly affect a number of medical conditions.
"We can imagine clothing capable of monitoring an individual's vital signs while helping to administer medicines and give early warning of potential problems. We can imagine clothing that could one day administer a controlled dose of insulin.
"We believe that by bringing together a range of experts from different fields, manufacturers and potential users, we can develop new concepts which can make a very significant difference to a person's wellbeing and quality of life."
The team has also been working with people living in Aberdeen who suffer from obesity and have undergone gastric band surgery.
He said: "Our aim is to provide clothing that could raise their self-esteem as well as support them in their daily lives. It will respond to their physical shape and help them feel good about themselves.
"We are now compiling a database of possibilities and we hope some of the concepts will go on to be manufactured."
The team is currently working on designs using 3D computer models and graphics.
The research network, called Second Skin, brings together experts from design, textiles, computing and health sciences and involves academics from Heriot-Watt and Ulster universities.
Josie Steed, head of fashion and textiles at Robert Gordon University, said this was a first for the fashion industry. She said: "Embedding minute electronics and sensors within textiles, once only a fantasy, is now a reality and enables designers to rethink how future clothing can not only make you look good but can also make you feel good about yourself."
The project was launched following a short study funded by the Scottish Government and co-ordinated by the Scottish Academy of Fashion.
The Second Skin network will host three key events involving academics, industry experts and focus groups, designed to generate new concepts over the coming year.
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