Nothing ventured, nothing gained

September 9, 2019

by Janet Preus The medical textiles market is expected to reach $23.3 billion by 2025, according to a release May 29, 2019 from reportlinker.com. Non-implantable goods, the report says, takes the largest share, which is not at all surprising for obvious reasons. What’s a bit surprising is the growth in medical devices, including those that …

Imagining a new normal in energy

August 12, 2019

by Janet Preus Every so often I put the “energy” topic on the calendar. I’m fascinated with the idea that textiles of various kinds will be a critical part of new developments, especially for wearables and other small-scale applications, as well as transportable products. Solar energy seemed the most encouraging, with new photovoltaic fabrics and …

No shortcuts

July 15, 2019

by Janet Preus “If you’re going to do it, do it right.” We’ve all heard that saying, and we probably all agree with it, too. But if you’re going to create something that’s never existed before, how do you know that you’re doing it right?  I’m not talking about a new technology, a new material …

The real magic in innovation

June 10, 2019

by Janet Preus Plenty of intriguing ideas may never be researched and developed, much less commercialized, due to a lack of funding or other necessary support. Some of those we should mourn, but others maybe weren’t all that great after all and are better left abandoned. If an innovation can’t be scaled up, if it’s …

It’s what you don’t see

May 6, 2019

by Janet Preus Several years ago I thought it would be a good idea to do an article on research in invisibility technologies, taking the camouflage question beyond the obvious, you might say. I still think it was a good idea, but information and sources were … well, hard to find.  Had I chosen to …

Remember electric socks?

April 8, 2019

I bought myself a pair of “electric socks” decades ago. Living in an outdoors-oriented family in Northern Minnesota, this was a supremely practical purchase. There were wires woven inside the toes and wires outside of the socks that ran all the way up my legs to a battery pack (two D-cells) affixed to my belt. …

It’s not just your shirt that’s smart

March 11, 2019

Wearables and personal gear have dominated the smart textiles news—including in this publication. Smart shirts, shoes, backpacks and purses deliver health and fitness monitoring, safety features, and a means to access our smart phones when we need to leave them stashed in a pocket or handbag. But the technology is capable of applications in other …

Serendipity happens

February 11, 2019

Sometimes when an article possibility doesn’t materialize, it presents a moment of serendipity. I needed someone who could speak from experience and answer questions about intellectual property (IP) law, the importance of patents and related subjects. If you’re like me, you’d think first of patent lawyers, who (I’ve since learned) are not just highly specialized …

Read the hangtags

January 9, 2019

My job is impacting my personal life in a somewhat unusual way: I chronically read hangtags on textile products. Clothing, housewares and especially outdoor gear get a close look. Are these flannel lounge pants 100 percent cotton? They better be. … Just how water resistant is this water-resistant jacket? … This shirt is UV resistant, …

Today’s tree huggers

December 10, 2018

There was a time when terms such as “ecology,” “sustainability,” “environmentalist” and “eco-friendly” belonged to a group (perceived to be small) of “tree-huggers” with ideas that many thought were radical, unnecessary or even just silly. However, I don’t think this was ever a small group. There were millions, at the time, who wouldn’t have used …