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Smart textiles – engineering by design

Wearables have become ‘must have’ fashion – how can we make assistive technology as desirable? The most sophisticated device is useless if it is uncomfortable or unattractive. This episode, we are looking at the interface between design and engineering and how the next generation of smart textiles could make assistive tech, invisible.

Society

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Insights and ideas

Phones, watches, rings that quantify sleep – technology comes in ever more diverse forms, and companies are focused on making the latest iterations covetable. But the world of assistive technology lags in the ‘desirability’ stakes, with the design of devices based on utility rather than comfort or style. It’s hard to feel enthusiastic about something that is ugly or cumbersome, so a device to keep someone safe may end up at the back of a drawer. Today’s episode brings together projects working on user-focused design, the metallisation and conductivity of fabric and graphene antennas embedded in textiles which could help people with Alzheimer’s. Tune in to see how next-generation, smart textiles are overcoming technical constraints to produce great devices people will want to use, helping them remain independent in their own homes. Professor of Health Design and Human Factors at Coventry University, Louise Moody brought her background in psychology and user-centric approach to design to the MATUROLIFE project. Andrew Cobley is a professor of Electrochemical Deposition and leads the Functional Materials and Chemistry Group at Coventry University. His expertise in the electrochemical metallisation of non-conductive materials was behind the production of MATUROLIFE prototypes . Elif Ozden Yenigun is a senior lecturer in Textiles at the Royal College of Art. Her research concentrates on molecular materials design and innovative approaches to textile manufacturing, which she explored in her GFSMART project. Elif’s work has been applied in the fashion, automotive and aerospace industries.

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Keywords

CORDIScovery, CORDIS, MATUROLIFE, GFSMART, smart textiles, antenna, graphene, metallisation, conductivity, fabric, assistive technology