Smart fabrics have a broad range of applications

Smart fabrics have a broad range of applications

The US Department of Commerce and the Industrial Fabrics Association International (AFAI) are to co-host their second Smart Fabrics Summit in the US next spring, building on a sellout event two years ago.

The Summit will take place on 24 April 2018 in Washington, DC, and will focus on 'Smart Fabrics: Getting Smarter,' highlighting emerging trends and new technology in this growing market.

The overall aim is to foster greater collaboration between the US apparel, technology, and textile industries and to identify the public policies that could accelerate the design and manufacture of smart fabrics products by US companies.

Advances in technology have brought together the apparel, technology, and textile industries to develop new capabilities in fabrics with the potential to change how athletes, patients, soldiers, first responders, and everyday consumers interact with their clothes and other textile products, the organisers say.

Known as 'smart fabrics,' these new high-tech products have the ability to interact with their user or the environment, including tracking and communicating data about their wearer or environment to other devices through embedded sensors and conductive yarns.

The applications for these new capabilities are broad with most smart fabric product development currently seen in the fields of defence, sports/fitness, health, and public safety.

Reaching the market's full potential will require not just overcoming technical challenges but also bridging differences in how these distinct industries approach product development and addressing various public policy issues, including trade policy.

Through a day of panel discussions and industry demonstrations, the Summit aims to:

  • Bring together industries that need to collaborate in order for the emerging smart fabrics industry to meet its full potential and accelerate its development by US manufacturers;
  • Improve mutual understanding of the needs of private sector industries and the roles of public sector agencies; and
  • Spur original thinking among public and private sector organisations about how new or existing policies affect current and future smart fabrics products.

Issues set to be explored include: research and development funding, intellectual property, standards, data security and privacy, and product development trends.

Registration opens in November, but you can click here to join the email list for the registration open date and other updates.