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How textiles get smarter

April 9th, 2018 / By: / My Take

Advanced Textiles Source was launched to provide information about the most sophisticated textiles in the industry, and, specifically, new developments and trends in materials, technologies and end products. Increasingly, I find myself talking about smart fabrics as research in this segment is expanding at an impressive rate, and breakthroughs are announced with some regularity.

Part of the reason for this growth has to do with the variety of functionalities that can earn a fabric (or fiber) the “smart” label. This discussion is no longer just about e-textiles, or thermal control, or any other niche. The progression is toward expanding the ways in which textiles can be deemed “smart,” while maintaining the performance capabilities expected of traditional textiles. There’s no point in giving up what we already have.

Such as comfort.

No matter how smart a garment is, nobody will want to wear it if it isn’t comfortable. Yes, it goes back to something that basic, because it is that important. This is one of the points made in our new feature by Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar (“Active and Smart”).

It was interesting to note that Ramkumar’s article also touched on points from several of our recent features: multi-functionality in fabrics; partnerships between academia and industry; the expanding definition of “textile,” as well as articles specifically on smart textiles. This new feature brings together related topics, illustrating, as well, the importance of collaborative work in successful project launches.

I’m fairly sure that I’ll hear more on this group of topics, I’ll call it, at IFAI’s Smart Fabrics Summit, co-hosted by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce this month in Washington D.C., and I’m looking forward to hearing the latest from those closest to this industry segment. Meetings like the Summit in Washington are exactly what’s needed to keep the discussions going and push the boundaries for this exciting textile frontier. It’s how textiles get smarter.