The LOOMIA Electronic Layer (LEL) by New York, N.Y.-based LOOMIA Technologies has received the 2019 NYCxDesign Award for Technology. The small startup was in competition with projects by much larger companies, such as Steelcase, Basalte, and Frasch. While LOOMIA is known for its smart textiles for apparel projects, the firm’s industry reach now extends to provide enabling technologies to interior, furniture and industrial designers.
The LEL is a soft-circuit system designed to bring function into textile products. The LEL can be sewn or bonded into various soft good applications, such as furniture or automotive interiors, to integrate heating, lighting and sensing functions. LOOMIA’s technology layer is drapable, bendable and creasable, just like any other fabric, while bringing higher function to a textile design without the bulk of hard wires.
“We make an ingredient that can add function, such as heat, light or sensors,” says Loomia co-founder and technologist Maddy Maxie. “It’s useful to companies because electronic textiles can be a better fit.” She means that quite literally for some applications, such as a wrapping a material to create a heated stearing wheel in a car. “We have a manufacturing partner that works with us to scale our product for the customer,” she says.
The company is moving from being more fashion orientated to health and wellness, medical products and transportation applications, and recently learned that it is a top-ten finalists for the NASA ITEC awards with its proposal to use its e-textiles for inflatable sensors.
“We are seeing real things that are going to happen,” she says. “I love that we’re this invisible piece that makes these things possible.”
LOOMIA works with companies to customize the size, shape and functionality of the LEL technology to properly integrate into a specific product. Its LEL was created to make technology softer, more approachable and easier to integrate for designers, manufacturers and users. The product easily fits into a cut-and-sew production without the need for special machinery or trained labor.