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Web Exclusive | August 2018

German initiative to promote smart textiles

Certain smart textiles have come into the market over the years, particularly in the areas of medicine and sport. Nevertheless, these smart textiles are not yet as widespread or have come into the everyday lives, as expected. In an attempt to change this situation, Germany's Federal Ministry for Education and Research began an initiative in May 2018 to promote “materials for intelligent (smart) textiles”.

The promotional campaign combines the initiatives From Material to Innovation and Innovation for Tomorrow's Production, Services and Work. Forty-four countries within and outside Europe are participating in the campaign. But the central focus is not just cooperation over country borders; interdisciplinary cooperation also plays an important role. The close collaboration of companies and public research institutions is at the core of this enterprise and will ensure a safe and quick move to industrial application.

In addition to the problem that developing intelligent textiles and integrating them into our everyday lives requires an intersection of multiple disciplines such as textile manufacturing, electronics, and IT, as well as research and industry, there is also the matter of how intelligent functions can be integrated into the textile without factors that could disturb the wearer, eg, batteries.

Making clothing more practical, communicative, functional, and protective is a fundamental idea when developing so-called intelligent textiles, says Groz-Beckert, a leading provider of industrial machine needles.

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