Smart Fabrics: Getting Smarter
Emerging Trends in Research, Technology and Public Policy
Advances in technology have brought together the apparel, technology, and textile industries to develop new capabilities in fabrics with the potential to change how athletes, patients, soldiers, first responders, and everyday consumers interact with their clothes and other textile products.
Known as “smart fabrics,” these new high-tech products have the ability to interact with their user or the environment, including tracking and communicating data about their wearer or environment to other devices through embedded sensors and conductive yarns. The applications for these new capabilities are broad with most smart fabric product development currently seen in the fields of defense, sports/fitness, health, and public safety.
Reaching the market’s full potential will require not just overcoming technical challenges but also bridging differences in how these distinct industries approach product development and addressing various public policy issues, including trade policy.
To foster greater collaboration between the U.S. apparel, technology, and textile industries and to identify the public policies that could accelerate the design and manufacture of smart fabrics products by U.S. companies, the Department of Commerce in partnership with the Industrial Fabrics Association International will host the “Smart Fabrics: Getting Smarter” Summit on Monday, April 24, 2018. This event will build on the success of the 2016 Smart Fabrics Summit and highlight emerging trends and new technology in this growing market.
Through a day of panel discussions and industry demonstrations, the Summit will:
Bring together industries that need to collaborate in order for the emerging smart fabrics industry to meet its full potential and accelerate its development by U.S. manufacturers; Improve mutual understanding of the needs of private sector industries and the roles of public sector agencies; and Spur original thinking among public and private sector organizations about how new or existing policies affect current and future smart fabrics products.
The issues that will be explored at the Smart Fabrics Summit include: (1) research and development funding, (2) intellectual property, (3) standards, (4) data security and privacy, and (5) product development trends.