Future textile visions: smart textiles for health and wellness.
Malins, Julian Paul
Fairburn, Susan Marie
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A report prepared for the Scottish Government on behalf of the Scottish Academy of Fashion, which examines the potential of new textiles solutions for health applications. Following a Sandpit event hosted by the Scottish Academy of Fashion on 13th and 14th January 2011, a number of projects emerged one of which was Molecular Imprinted Textiles (MIT). The interest of this group was to apply nano-technology to extend the value of textiles by making it possible to add or extract information over the lifetime of garments. A workshop was held on 19th October 2011 by the MIT Group at Edinburgh College of Art to explore concepts based on related technologies. An emerging conversation was focused on the potential of technologies that could be incorporated into textiles specifically for medical applications. The Future Textiles Project (FTV) developed as a result of the earlier dialogue, with the aim of exploring the potential for developing new textiles products designed to address specific medical conditions. The report details some of the most prominent areas of medical need and some of the technologies that may be applied. It does not suggest specific concepts, but rather examines the methodologies that could be profitably adopted for developing new concepts in this field based on a cross-disciplinary user-focused approach. The premise for this project is based on the identification of human needs that provide the focus for subsequent technology development. The report focuses on the potential of Scottish businesses, making use of current research across a number of fields in order to develop new products, which have life-changing implications. ‘Smart’ (or technologically enhanced) textiles have the potential to control temperature, incorporate antimicrobial properties, provide insulation, breathability, compression, re-shaping, moisture absorption, articulation enabling mobility, constrain movement and improve circulation. They can be used as a diagnostic tool to deliver drugs and respond to changing body states. This project considers new methodologies for rapid product development looking for synergies between business and academic research.