Inspiring about integration of electronics into textiles 

Coats with integrated music and heated gloves and chairs. When electronics and textiles are integrated, only the imagination sets the limits for tomorrow’s products. And new ideas did perhaps see the light of day when two industries met for an inspirational seminar at Espira Growth Centre in Borås on the 2nd of September.

“Cross-fertilizing” the textile and electronics industries will open up for a wide range of opportunities to develop new products for both industries. This is the opinion of Lena Norder (in the picture below), Director at the Swedish Electronics Trade Association, who acted as moderator for the all-day seminar.
– Electronics are present in all industries, as are textiles. When they are combined, as we have done during this seminar, great potential and many business opportunities come into being.

 

Increased international competitiveness

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The seminar is part of an effort by Smart Textiles in which Emma Mårtensson at Espira Growth Centre participates as initiator and project manager. The Swedish Electronics Trade Association and TEKO, the Swedish Textile and Clothing Industries Association, are also involved in the seminar. 

– Today, exciting research is conducted at the University of Borås and Swerea IVF involving conductive polymer fibres (electrically conductive fibres). One of the purposes of this seminar is to give Performance.

Dan Riley plays music on his own t-shirt. Another excellent example of how electronics can be integrated into textiles.

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Representatives of Swedish industry an overview of the market and open their eyes to the opportunities. Increased activity within Swedish industry means it will become more a more active industry that will express its demands more clearly, which often generates increased research progress, Emma Mårtensson explains and Lena Norder continues:

– This is also about increasing our international competitiveness. Sweden is a technological country and we should do all we can to maintain our position at the frontier.

 

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The heated glove of Interactive Wear.

 

Dare to venture

To provide information on where the industry stands today, inspire and help create new ideas, representatives from two European companies and one research institution had been invited to speak. All of them coming directly the very frontier of the field. Ivo Locher from the Swiss textile business Sefar presented the new business segment PowerMatrix, in which the company works actively to cross-fertilize textiles and electronics.
– I wanted the speakers to inspire the attending business representatives to dare to venture into new business segments, Emma Mårtensson says.

Also, speakers from the Spanish research institution CETEMMSA and the company Interactive Wear entered the stage. Interactive Wear took this opportunity to show some good examples of products where electronics had been integrated into textiles. Here (the picture to the right), speaker Andreas Röpert poses with a musical coat the company has been involved in the development of.

More activities

In order to encourage the companies to venture into the technical area, Smart Textiles plans to hold other events together with Espira.
– Now, I’ll sit down and summarise the feedback from the attending business representatives. In January, the next major event will take place, which is designed to correspond to the wishes of the industry, Emma Mårtensson concludes.