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Smart Fabric Summit set for April 11-12

In the Industry | February 13, 2023 | By:

The 2023 Smart Fabrics Summit will take place April 11-12, once again at North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh, N.C. This one-and-a-half day event offers engaging education, organization displays, a look at NC State’s new Flex Factory, a student research showcase and networking opportunities. On-site registration begins at 8:30 a.m., April 11, with opening remarks at 10:00 a.m. Education begins at 10:05 and will include the following presentations:

Textile-Integrated Liquid Metal Electronics

Dr. Braden Li, materials research engineer, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) and Air Force Research Laboratory, will present key material challenges and solutions being addressed within the U.S. Air Force to enable next generation smart textiles to better enable personnel in performing their duties, by providing both physiological state awareness and mitigating dangers such as hypothermia and cognitive fatigue. 

The presentation will discuss efforts to explore the use of polymer architectures coupled with printable liquid metal (EGaIn) inks to create conformable, flexible and robust functional textile electronics suitable for applications such as active heating, electrophysiological sensing, and on-body data and power routing. These innovative material sets present new opportunities for additional textile-based wearable sensing, haptics, and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) applications that were previously unrealized due to intrinsic material limitations.

Collaborations in Advanced Robotics Manufacturing

Glenn Saunders, senior research E=engineer, Manufacturing Innovation Center (MIC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), will discuss the relationship between RPI, which is a private technological research university. and the Advanced Robotics in Manufacturing Institute (ARM), one of the 16 Manufacturing USA network institutes, and how they are working together to make robotics, autonomy and intelligence more accessible to U.S. manufacturers. Objectives, execution details, student involvement and outcomes of several ARM projects in advanced manufacturing (apparel and non-apparel) will be reviewed. 

Smart Fabric Shades and Built-In Controls Strategies 

Dr. Radhakrishnaiah Parachuru, principal research scientist, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), will speak about functionally designed fabric shades with built-in smart functionality. These products can dynamically change heat and light transfer properties based on changing external conditions. This means that building occupants can control sunlight penetration for heat reduction, thermal comfort and visual quality, while potentially reducing the cost of heating and cooling.

Recent advances in software-based simulation tools make it possible to consider different designs and their application variables in studying the impact of shades on heating, cooling and lighting energy savings. This presentation will also discuss the commercialization potential of selected products that hold immediate promise for commercialization.

IP Best Practices When Going to Market

Jack Hicks, patent attorney and partner, Womble Bond Dickinson LLP; Dhruv Agarwal, vice president-sustainability, innovation, development with Kontoor Brands, will discuss the path of bringing a new product to market from conception to introduction. This process can involve both legal pitfalls and opportunities. Understanding when to consider legal issues can help avoid wasted efforts and reduce the chances that the right to obtain a patent will be lost. 

Using case examples, the speakers will highlight best practices including agreements to protection ownership, patent searches, provisional/non-provisional/international patent applications, front-loading or back-loading costs, licensing and enforcement.

Additional opportunities

Information on a session titled “The Coming Solarization of Fabrics” will be available soon on the Smart Fabrics Summit website.  

On day two, a panel of experts will present a discussion on “The Future of Advanced Manufacturing.” Facility tours will begin after the panel presentation and will be available for:

  • The university’s new 30,000 square-foot Flex Factory, intended to spur business development, innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability in the textile industry. 
  • ASSIST (Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies) is an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center established in 2012. 
  • Wilson College of Textiles Labs, showing the college’s range in textile education, research, innovation and service. 

For more, including specific locations, travel and hotel information, and to register, visit Contact with questions about this and other ATA events.

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