A smart but unexpected collaboration between engineering, textiles and design is one of the forces behind the success of Smart Textiles, according to the evaluators who participated during the international hearing.
– Medical research and textiles are examples of two different areas that have not been connected before, says Clare Johnston, professor at Royal College of Art in London. Claire was one of the participants in the International Assessment of Smart Textiles.
– Smart Textiles has innovative concepts but has also been able to actually commercialize the products. There is a strategic relation between design, technics and business and Smart Textiles is the heart of it, says Clare Johnston.
More than 40 people participated during the two days and shared their experiences of project collaborations with Smart Textiles. That Smart Textiles has a large potential in terms of generating interest for textiles in areas other than the purely textile was also one of the conclusions that emerged during the international evaluation.
It was held by one of Smart Textiles financiers – Vinnova. They concluded that there has been a very positive development for the past three years that has resulted in several successful projects and products, such as a textile stent used to dilate blood vessels during surgery.
– Smart Textiles is in the front line, in the interface between the textile and other fields, says Lutz Walter, head of research and development within the European network Euratex.
¬ They have decided that their identity is related to textiles and they keep everything under a textile roof. While other initiatives have split these areas Smart Textiles has worked to bring them together, as in engineering and textiles. It is something that is unique.
Lutz Walter also thinks that progress is even better when two different markets meet.
– When the textile meets another area, they can collaborate without the competition that would otherwise arise, says Lutz Walter. It is only then that innovations can really develop.
Since 2011 Smart Textiles developed 114 new prototypes in different areas, several of which are on the market. This includes protective clothing used in water blasting, Electro dress that help people with neurological disorders and a pajama that is a solution to the problem of bedwetting.
Lisa De Propris, a specialist in regional economic development at the University of Birmingham, also appeared as one of the evaluators. – Smart Textiles has made tremendous progress over the past 3 years and has actually achieved more than what was set up as a goal! The new premises in Textile Fashion Center also reflect both supply and successes. It has research and development and a showroom under one roof. In Smart Textiles is a highly dynamic, both in terms of commercial interests and in terms of sustainable innovations. It makes Smart Textiles for an initiative that will work in the long term, says Lisa De Propris.