When E.M. Forster wrote the words “only connect” in his Victorian novel Howards End, he was linking poetry and prose. But the phrase was given new meaning at IFAI Expo’s Advanced Textiles Conference Smart Fabrics Track on Tuesday by presenters who encouraged better connectivity between the textile and electronics industries.
One company working to bridge the gap is Io Clothes. Speaking at the day’s keynote luncheon, managing director Ben Cooper said, “The two industries do not speak the same language.” The company seeks to serve as a platform or networking group in order to foster a global community for e-textile development.
“What we are doing now is merging two industries. We need to have a conversation,” said Eva Osborne of Significant Difference in her introduction to 101 E-Textiles. The panel discussion covered some of the expectations, product development strategies, economics, lack of standards, and legal pitfalls that challenge the commercialization of e-textiles; and how to move beyond the successes in the military and medical fields.
The paradigm shift will come when we connect textiles and technology. “Our job is to communicate,” added Osborne.
by Debra Cobb