Posted at 11:45 AM
Guest blog post by Mary Hennessy, President and CEO of the Industrial Fabrics Association International
On April 11, the topic of “smart fabrics” will be front and center in a new and exciting way. The Industrial Fabrics Association International, America’s oldest and largest textile industry trade support association, will partner with the United States Department of Commerce to co-host the first-ever “Smart Fabrics Summit” in our nation’s capital. For those interested in tomorrow’s technology, it’s going to be quite a day. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and I will moderate a panel discussion along with David Lauren, Vice President of Ralph Lauren and Josh Walden, Senior Vice Presient and General Manger of Intel.
You may have heard about “smart fabrics” and the role they are likely to play in your future. Imagine a day that looks like this:
You wake up refreshed because your bedsheet is temperature-regulated. Your sleepwear stimulates your muscles and even reminds you to stretch if you need to. Put on your self-cleaning clothes and your gait-monitoring shoes, so you can catch a train to work which rides on a railbed built using geosynthetic materials that monitor track safety. You know where your children are because their clothes have safety sensors, and if you work outside, your clothing can help regulate your body temperature.
Your office building is covered in a photovoltaic material that powers the machinery inside without needing a generator. Your lunch bag can either cool or warm your food depending on what you need it to do. At work, the fabric in your desk chair knows you’ve been sitting too long and reminds you to get up and walk around. On your way home, the fabric in your steering wheel senses you might be falling asleep and gives you a gentle warning alarm.
This is the future. The technology exists to make every one of these items a reality in the very near future – and some of them are already here.
The field of smart fabrics is perhaps the most exciting growth area in the textile industry and the Smart Fabrics Summit will feature a great stable of speakers who are on the cutting edge of innovation. The event itself is sold out, but the coming days are sure to feature media stories, seminars, and a wealth of information about an area which will be a key to future American economic growth.
Now is the time for partnerships. Now is the time for business, industry and government to work together to create the best possible environment for American success. That’s why we’re proud to work with the Department of Commerce, America’s innovation agency, to help this industry grow right here in America.
For over one hundred years, IFAI has advocated for the American textile industry. Our annual Expo brings companies from all over the world to the United States to network, learn and prosper. This is the next logical step. Let’s all grow together.