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Just the beginning

October 9th, 2015 / By: / My Take

I cannot help but be struck by the diversity of the products and technologies—and the passion of the individuals who have developed and promote them—at IFAI’s Advanced Textiles Conference and Expo this past week in Anaheim, Calif. I wanted to go out to dinner with all of them, video our conversations, and get their cell phone numbers so I can bug them whenever I have a question I can’t answer, or for which I can’t find the answer online. It was that kind of conference.

I usually do leave IFAI’s annual Advanced Textiles Conference with more questions than answers, but that’s just because I’m presented with so much new information, and it all gets me thinking about things I wouldn’t otherwise. All I can do in this post is to get started, but check back often because you’ll be hearing about the sessions, the products and the other industry news regularly for a while.

What an opportunity this is each year for the industry! No matter how sophisticated the technology, there is no replacement for face-to-face meetings and the opportunity for personal interaction. Communications technology is wonderful and social media is an important tool, but I’m always amazed by the impact of meeting the movers and shakers in this industry in person. Some were speakers, but many more were attendees, which made for lively question and answer periods and great conversations following the sessions.

So let’s get started.

IFAI’s market research manager Jeff Rasmussen presented his findings in the presentation “Current Developments in the Smart and Interactive Fabrics Market” at the conference. (See “Success in smart textiles —now and in the future” on this site.) With the worldwide smart fabrics market growing at an annual rate of about 8 percent, there’s plenty to talk about. Other sessions covered specific topics relevant to the smart textiles segment, including a report of the wearable technology market, a printable, stretchable ink for e-textiles from DuPont and new smart garments from Sensoria.

Keynote speaker Evelyne Orndoff from NASA stressed the importance of textiles in NASA’s missions, particularly in developing new textiles to meet NASA’s manned Mars expedition, ending her speech with a challenge that’s clear enough: “We can’t do it without you!” Look for a longer article on Orndoff’s perspective later this month and specific coverage of the aerospace industry in January 2016 on this site.

This month’s coverage goes beyond IFAI’s Expo events. An article by Debra Cobb, “Assessing compression clothes” discusses compression products and their benefits in athletic performance. Because issues of assessment and standards face textile manufacturers in just about every performance category, an entire track at the conference was devoted to testing topics, and a special booth on the show floor made testing experts available to attendees throughout the three-day Expo.

We’ve been posting short updates from the conference and Expo every day, and there will be more—and longer, more in-depth—articles posted here in the days and weeks to come. It’s a lot of information, and, as I said, I still have a lot of questions.

Feel free to join the discussion, and if you can offer expertise on any of the topics covered on this site, I encourage you to contact me. Let’s continue to get the word out about the answers advanced textiles products can provide.