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Smart Fabrics Summit set for April 24 in Washington D.C.

February 12th, 2018 / By: / Feature

StretchSense has designed printed circuit boards that can make lightweight, flexible sensors for more versatile use in wearable technology. Photo: StretchSense.

The event offers opportunities for collaboration and discussion of industry challenges.

The U.S. Dept. of Commerce and the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) will co-host the Smart Fabrics Summit in April 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The day-long event will take place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

The Summit is designed to provide a forum for public and private sector leaders in technology, apparel and textiles concerning developments in the smart fabrics industry and to identify opportunities for collaboration and discuss critical industry challenges.

A full day of presentations and discussion opportunities is planned. IFAI’s director of market research Jeffrey Rasmussen will start the day with a presentation on the smart and interactive fabrics market, focusing on the U.S. marketplace. This will offer a comprehensive overview of recent smart fabric applications used in government, commercial, medical and consumer market segments. Future directions for smart fabrics will be discussed, including market size and growth rate figures for the global and U.S. smart fabric markets.

Dr. Qaizar Hassonjee, president, Hass Tech Associates, and Chris Semonelli, president, Coated Technical Solutions, will present “The Key to Moving Smart Fabrics Forward.” Smart Textiles provide the opportunity to have textiles evolve into a more innovative, high-margin industry, which would drive higher wage employment and economic growth. The presentation will discuss the market back innovation methodology using a multi-disciplinary approach, demonstrating its effectiveness with specific case studies. It will also explore how universities are the essential organizations that can bring diverse functions (textile design, electronics, engineering, UI/UX design, data analytics and marketing) together and how this multi-disciplinary approach is essential to develop end-use applications.

“Smart Fabrics Standards: A Government Regulator’s Perspective” will be presented by representatives of various U.S. government agencies, including the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They will discuss their agencies’ involvement in the emerging smart fabrics/e-textiles area. Topics will include labeling, safety standards, enforcement, healthcare standards and certification/testing requirements. Agencies will also discuss why a government regulation might be developed and implemented as opposed to adopting an industry-led standard, how stakeholders can provide input, what existing standards and regulations apply to emerging smart fabrics technologies, and where there are gaps in existing standards and regulations that may require new rules to be developed.

“First Responder Requirements for Smart Fabrics” will be presented by William Deso, program manager, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate First Responders Group. Products for first responders have an increasing need for communications equipment, sensors for environmental and physiological monitors, and other specialized equipment. Smart fabrics have the potential to enable responders to perform their functions quicker, safer, and more efficiently by reducing the weight, for example, of essential gear.

Representatives from ASTM International, IPC (the Association Connecting Electronics Industries), and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) will discuss how standards development organizations (SDOs) identify areas in which new or updated standards are needed for the emerging smart fabrics and e-textiles sector, how various organizations work together to ensure that standards do not overlap, and how private sector representatives can get involved in standards work groups. Discussion topics in their presentation, “Smart Fabrics Standards: A Standards Development Organization’s Perspective,” will also include information on gaps in existing standards that may require the development of new standards and/or test methods.

“Yarn is the Next Invention” will be presented by Stephanie Rodgers, director, Advanced Product Developments, Apex Mills Corp. Yarn producers are adopting more specialty yarns and treatments into fabrics allowing designers and engineers to achieve higher sustained performance that are geared to add longevity and sustainability to end products, especially smart fabrics and e-textiles

​Representatives from U.S. research universities and public-private partnerships will discuss their current research in “Trends in Public-Private R&D Partnerships on Smart Fabrics.” Specific products that are currently being developed for commercialization, and views on future trends in smart fabrics research and development will be discussed. Panelists will also provide information on how private sector companies can engage with these organizations for research, development, testing and other collaborations.​

Panelists in the presentation titled “Data Security and Privacy for Connected Textiles and Apparel” will discuss how product developers should address the challenges of protecting personal data collected by smart fabrics and wearables. Panelists will cover an overview of current standards and regulations and will share best practices for implementing internal controls to mitigate risk of data security breaches.

The day’s events will conclude with a networking reception. For information and to register, visit