You may think that tacky, light-up sweater Grandma Ethel got you last year may only be fit for an ugly Christmas sweater party, but it turns out electrified clothing is making a push to incorporate a little more function and a little less fashion faux pas.

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And we're not talking about a garment that looks like it was in a head-on collision with a Lite Brite. Thanks in part to a flexible battery that can be woven into fabric, Maksim Skorobogatiy and his colleagues at the Polytechnic School of Montreal say they've created an electrified material they believe could be used power gadgets buried in your clothes.

The team sandwiched a solid polyethylene oxide electrolyte between a lithium iron phosphate cathode and lithium titanate anode. When heated, these materials can be stretched thin enough to be woven in to fabric where conductive threads connected these batteries and illuminated LED's.

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Skorobogatiy says the smart fabric could provide hundreds of volts to deliver power to emergency applications.

"We have enough power to emit a powerful distress signal or even save a life by defibrillating a patient," he told New Scientist. Next on the team's list is waterproofing the battery and making the material washable.

[Via NewScientist]

Credit: Ecole Polytechnique Montreal