E-textiles Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Sch of of Electronics and Computer Sci

Abstract

The UK's textiles and clothing industry makes a significant contribution to the economy employing over 130,000 individuals and is experiencing resurgence with production rising by 2.5% over the last two years to a value of £9.1 billion. E-textiles are an emerging and enabling technology with broad potential applications in many areas such as clothing, home furnishing, workwear, sports, medical, architecture and automotive. The e-textiles market is forecast to grow from $100 million to $5 billion by 2027. E-textiles can also be used in many other emerging areas such as wearable technologies and IoT.

This proposal is to create an E-textiles Network community to bring academia, industry and end users together to identify research challenges and catalyst the collaboration to address these challenges. The e-textiles network will ensure widely dissemination and knowledge exchanges using variety of mechanisms. In particular, the annual two-day conference will bring the community together to disseminate the research findings and engage with industry and end users.

While network will be co-ordinated by the University of Southampton, the priorities and activities will be driven by a steering board with balanced representation from a range of other universities, companies, end users and policy makers. The success of the proposed network will ensure the UK keeps its leading role in the innovation and manufacturing of e-textiles.

Planned Impact

E-textiles will enable a huge range of new textile products that will revolutionise the textile industry and industries that use e-textiles such as fashion, healthcare/medical, sports/fitness, automotive, interior design and workwear. The network proposal includes 17 project partners of which 7 are companies involved in the development of e-textiles and 2 represent significant potential end users (Home Office and Dstl). In addition to the initial project partners, we will recruit new network members from industry in both the technology provider and end user communities.

We will encourage the communication, engagement and collaboration through the actions described in the Pathway to Impact. The network members from industry will benefit from the network by having the access to the leading research developed in academia, and facilitate collaborations that will accelerate the technology transfer from academia to industry. This will lead to economic benefits to the whole supply chain by improving sales and creating new job opportunities.

The end users members (e.g. emergency services, military) will benefit by having the opportunities to present their needs to researchers from both academia and industry. The network will inform research activities enabling researchers to address end users requirements. E-textiles have broad applications across multiple sectors and many of these have the potential for significant social impact. For example, e-textile based wearable health monitoring can facilitate ambient assisted living scenarios and patient monitoring leading to improved health/wellbeing.

The network will work together to identify research challenges and the findings of these workshops will be presented to policy makers and funding bodies. The network will act as an interface facilitating communication between technology developers and policy makers.

Publications

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Yang K (2019) E-Textiles for Healthy Ageing. in Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)

 
Description The E-Textiles Network has successfully established a membership of over 300 individuals from academia and industry. It has organised community events aimed at identifying research challenges, promoting the technology, exploring opportunities, influencing funders and facilitating collaborations.
Exploitation Route The e-textiles community has clear research challenges and opportunities to aim for plus a wider network of collaborators to build consortia. Projects arising from the Network will address a range of applications sectors given below.
Sectors Creative Economy,Electronics,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy

URL https://e-textiles-network.com
 
Description Joining the Textile Institute Smart Fabrics steering Committee
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description E-Textiles Webinar Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Since the Covid lockdown prevented in person events, the E-Textiles Network organised a monthly webinar series which is still ongoing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
URL https://e-textiles-network.com/news-and-events/
 
Description E-Textiles conference (annual event) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The E-Textiles Network organised the inaugural E-Textiles 2019: International Conference on the Challenges, Opportunities, Innovations and Applications in Electronic Textiles held in London. The event reached a range of academic, industrialists, funding agencies, and researchers and will be held in 2020 in Manchester and 2021 (venue TBC)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://e-textiles-network.com/e-textiles-2019
 
Description Organisation of E-Textiles Conference 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The E-Textiles Network organised the E-Textiles 2020: International Conference on the Challenges, Opportunities, Innovations and Applications in Electronic Textiles held online The event reached a range of academic, industrialists, funding agencies, and researchers and will be held in 2021 in Manchester.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://e-textiles-network.com/e-textiles-2020/
 
Description Participation in an activity, workshop or similar - Organisation of E-Textiles Conference 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Organised the Hybrid E-textiles 2021 conference in Manchester to disseminate research on e-textiles.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://e-textilesconference.com/e-textiles-2021/
 
Description Workshop on E-textiles for Healthy Ageing 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The E-Textiles Network organised a workshop on the subject of E-Textiles for Healthy Ageing that included a range of talks on the challenges associated with healthy ageing and explored ways in which e-textiles can assist healthy ageing and support a healthy lifestyle. The outcome of the workshop was a report and review paper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://e-textiles-network.com/e-textiles-for-healthy-ageing-workshop