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Nottingham Trent University receives £2m grant to develop wearable technology methods


Nottingham Trent University’s Advanced Textiles Research Group has received more than £2 million (USD $3.1 million) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to develop new manufacturing methods for wearable technology, according to a report by Nottingham Post.

The project will further the group’s R&D efforts in embedding electronics, including LEDs, sensors and micro-controllers, directly into yarns which can then be used to make a wide range of goods, such as clothes, accessories, and car seats.

“I believe that fibre electronics will initiate a second industrial revolution in textiles,” said Tilak Dias, head of the research group professor. “We are confident we have developed the platform technology for future electronic textiles and this project will build on the results gained to date by ourselves in order to revolutionise the way that smart and interactive textiles are produced. The end result will offer a greater level of functionality that is far beyond the state of the art.”

The project will receive a total of £2.8 million (USD $4.3 million), which will allow the university to develop even finer yarns for developing goods such as shirts with embedded sensors and communication devices that are invisible to the human eye.

The funding will also go toward purchasing the equipment required to launch a medium-scale manufacturing center for the fiber electronics.

The four-year project, which kicks off in March, will also be joined by the University of Southampton’s Electronics and Computer Science department.

Several partners are contributing an additional £430,000 (USD $660,000) to the project, including Stretchline, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Speedo, BSN Medical, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, International Automotive Components, Plessey Semiconductors, Urgo Ltd, the Centre for Process Innovation and MediCity.

“Working with academia and industry to support game-changing manufacturing projects like these is at the heart of the Government’s industrial strategy,” said Business secretary Vince Cable. “By supporting the jump from the manufacturing lab to the market place, we are driving innovation, creating valuable new jobs and delivering economic growth that will secure the UK’s global leadership for decades to come.”

Previously reported, Gartner published a new report entitled “Predicts 2015: New Business Opportunities and Complexity on the Rise in Consumer Devices Market“, which predicts that 30 percent of smart wearables will be completely unobtrusive to the eye by 2017.

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