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The things people come up with!

January 13th, 2020 / By: / My Take

by Janet Preus

That sustainability is a powerful driver for new innovations in textiles is not altogether surprising for those of us who have been observing the industry for several years. What always surprises me, though, is the innovations themselves. The ways researchers and business innovators accomplish new sustainability advances—the research itself, the prototypes, the launching of commercially viable new technologies, materials and products—is on-going, often brilliant and always fascinating. 

Cuttlefish, for example. You might not even know what a cuttlefish is, but there are researchers in biomimicry who have studied them (and their cousins, the squid) and developed more sustainable technologies based on their observations of these marine creatures. (See “Cuttlefish inspires soft material turbines, ” and search “squid” on this site for a new take entirely on camouflage.)

Our feature, “Insights into the year ahead” by Marie O’Mahony, reveals the same emphasis on sustainability. She asked industry experts with diverse backgrounds to offer their predictions, if you will, for the year ahead in the industry. Collaboration, given the complexity of some new technologies, such as e-textiles, will continue to gain importance, and consumers preferences will also drive developments. 

Two additional stories in this month’s first launch are about innovations that respond to current market needs. A startup called Pang Wangle has integrated Insect Shield© into clothing for wearable bug repellent. Bebop Sensors now offers haptic gloves for virtual reality applications. The company imagines future uses in medical trials and rehabilitation, robotics and drone control, and VR CAD design. 

I’m obviously just scratching the surface here and pointing out the most recent news. Pick a topic that intrigues you and drop it into the search bar on this site. You could also scroll through “Out There,” our tab for developments that hug the fringes—at the moment. You never know when these surprising ideas will turn into successful products in the marketplace. 

Janet Preus is senior editor of Advanced Textiles Source. She can be reached at jlpreus@ifai.com