San Mateo, Calif.-based fabric developer Electroloom has received a $150,000 National Science Foundation Division of Industrial Innovation & Partnership grant to develop a new method of prototyping textiles, particularly clothing, through the automated desktop manufacturing of clothing with an electrospinning device.
A similar process to 3-D printing, the technology has the potential to allow consumers to print wearable clothes from their home or business, the company says. As the technology matures, future applications are anticipated in medicine and filtration.
The Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will focus on the development of a desktop device to make clothing that uses electrospinning. The electrospinning process is capable of conforming fibers into unique 3D shapes. The project hopes to make considerable improvements to the electrospinning process so that textile prototyping will be faster, more reliable, and less wasteful. It will also support material science work to increase the strength and durability of electrospun materials such that they can be satisfactorily used as prototyping textile materials.
View this YouTube video for a walkthrough and demonstration.