Finding more effective ways to incorporate intelligent textiles into the fashion world, as well as marketing the technology to designers and manufacturers who may not be familiar with it, is one of the key areas we will be focusing on at Smart Fabrics 2012. Clint Zeagler, Instructor/Researcher at the School of Industrial Design, Georgia Tech is presenting on this topic at the conference, as well as leading the pre-conference workshop "Electronic Textile Interface Swatch Book."
We asked Clint to share some of his thoughts on ways that the smart fabric world can better integrate their technology into more conventional apparel designs, and the reasons why his workshop is a must-attend event for every Smart Fabrics 2012 delegate.
Q: In your presentation at the conference you plan to cover the topic of integrating smart textiles into fashion. In your opinion, what is the current situation and scope of the use of smart textiles by fashion houses? Where do you see that the challenges still exist and how can technology developers better work with fashion brands to develop products that suit both sides of the spectrum?
A: I believe smart textiles, especially in the form of textile interfaces, are drastically underused in fashion and other product design. There is an untapped market for consumer goods particularly in the luxury market for textile interfaces. One of the biggest hurdles in bringing smart textiles to the market is the language barrier between the disparate fields of design and research that just work together to create profound innovations in the field. It is my research team's intention to break down this barrier between the craft and skill-based disciplines that drive textile consumer products (fashion, interior design, soft product design) and the more technology driven disciplines by creating the Electronic Textile Interface Swatch Book (ESwatchBook). The idea is to showcase smart textiles in a format that designers are familiar with, the swatch book being the common method for selecting textiles for production and inspiration.
Q: Please tell us why no one attending the conference should miss your April 17th workshop - Electronic Textile Interface Swatch Book.
A: We are excited to present a workshop where people will be able to see the ESwatchBook Prototypes and work with our Human Center Computing Specialist to develop a design and create a working prototype in a one-day session. Participants will work in groups so they will be able to meet designers and computer scientists with whom they can collaborate with on future projects. What attendees develop in the workshop is theirs to keep, so participants may walk home with a working prototype ready to take to industry as a mock up.
Q: What are you looking forward to hear at this year's Smart Fabrics event in Miami?
A: I'm excited to hear all of the speakers, but I am really interested in what Dr. Jan Zimmermann has to say about ramping up conductive thread embroidery to an industrial scale, as we use a commercial machine in our embroidery and have had to make some minor tweaks to get the machine to work smoothly. I'd like to know if he has any tips for manufacturing on a larger scale.
>>>Learn more about the pre-conference workshop
>>>View the agenda