Introducing Smart Textile Alliance
Garments for astronauts and suits that allow Hollywood studios to create iconic characters are just some of the exciting uses of Smart Textiles. Smart Textile technology is the seamless integration of flexible electronics into fabric and fibres to create new fashion and textile products. This technology has the potential to deliver solutions to modern-day social challenges and future lifestyle trends.
Whilst to date some of the more popular uses of Smart Textile technology in the consumer sector has been for Heated Garments, with cases such as the Ralph Lauren jackets for the USA Winter Olympics team, there have also been some products showing up in a broader range of applications.
Carpetlight, originating from the embroidery company Foster Rohner, offers customised flexible LED lamps on fabrics in any size for professional lighting options.
Another example is Graspor by the company Ohmatex, consists of a sensor system that measures Muscle Oxygen and Muscle Activation to optimise training and prevent injuries in athletes.
Various market intelligence sources predict growth in the overall textile integrated wearables sector, with it being predicted to grow considerably both in terms of market value and market share in the next decade. Various Big Tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google all seem to agree as they now have patents for Smart Textile products.
The non-profit organisation Smart Textile Alliance (STA) is looking to create standards within the industry. In its role as an independent body, STA is aiming to unite industrial partners, facilitate the development of standards and certify solutions that are interoperable. The organisation recently took up offices in the UKFT headquarters and is led by the experienced Christian Dalsgaard and Mili Tharakan. STA’s main goals are to champion Smart Textile innovation by sharing interviews and articles on its blog and social media platforms, as well as helping companies make an entry into this new sector.