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Melanie Hoerr of ZSK talks about her session on Smart textiles

03 Mar 2017
Please sum up your conference session in one sentence.
Technical Embroidery Systems can be used to create textile sensors, actuators, or to place and integrate functional sequin devices (e.g. LEDs) into fabrics and textiles, an overview of the opportunities of this technology for Wearables and the potential of the machine will be given.

Who needs to hear what you’ve got to say?
Everyone who is interested in a technology that has high potential for the automatic production of Smart Textiles should attend my talk. Technical Embroidery offers a broad application field from health and fitness to mobility and transportation. A designer can work with this technologies as well as an engineer. Small companies or even start-ups can use these machines for their small or individual production as good as bigger companies for their mass production. Everyone, who is interested in new, innovative products that are textile related and that includes wound dressings and composites as strong as apparels, will be highly interested in my talk.

What is the biggest challenge facing smart textiles this year and why?
In my opinion the biggest challenge for Smart Textiles is the upscaling of their production. Most of the Smart Textiles products are manual produced or their production has a lot of manual steps. This leads to very high prices and a lack in reproducibility. International standards need to be defined for Smart Textiles but they cannot be defined if the reproducibility is not given. Manual production cannot be the future of Smart Textiles.

And what is the biggest opportunity for the industry and why?
The biggest opportunity of the industry is the use of common and well-known technologies and adapt them to create Smart Textiles. Technologies like Embroidery are very well known for hundreds of years and have been used for mass production for a long time.

Where do you see smart textiles in five years’ time?
Smart Textiles will be the future. In five years, almost everyone should where at least occasionally a smart textile and even if it is “just” a heating shoe sole in the winter or using a suit with textile electrodes for muscle-stimulation to increase the fitness efficiency.

Why are you looking forward to speaking at/attending WTS17?
I have been in the Smart Textiles World for over 6 years and unfortunately, I have seen a lot of great products failing just because of their high estimated coast due to manual production. Technical embroidery allows the mass production and the individual, mass-customized production of Smart Textiles. This is what I want to show the audience at WTS. This is the future of Smart Textiles.

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