Smart Textile Services

Designing and Selling 'Soft Product' - 'Valuable Service' systems (Smart Textile Services) was about the development of successful methods, platforms, guiding principles and the business models required to understand the multi-disciplinary opportunities and challenges of creating Smart Textile Product Service Systems.

Innovation in the form of the combination of soft materials with high technology has led to the development of so-called Smart Textiles. These are of strategic importance for the European textile industry to sustain their competitive edge and to counter threats from low-labour cost producers.

Smart Textiles can conduct light, heat or currents; i.e. the textile becomes an interactive product and can now become part of larger product service systems (PSS). This opens up a vast field of opportunities for textile developers and product and service designers to combine their disciplines in the application areas of well being and life style.

To develop these complex PSS solutions, manufacturers need to move away from their current fragmented, slow or non-existent knowledge exchange methods and team up with relevant partners. Initial investment in this field has led to the design and development of an inspirational test-bed, called ‘Wearable Senses’ at TU/e.

What questions were answered?
Teams from 3 universities and Industry partners were working together to answer the questions:

How can the application of user-centred design methods discover, exchange and combine the theoretical principles, strong traditions and best practices within the domain of textile, interactive product and service design?
What are the methods and criteria for the different stakeholders to pass the transitions from the Incubation, Nursery and Adoption phases?
How can the creative industry illicit awareness about the opportunities and challenges of Smart Textile PSS through co-creation and the use of inspirational Test-beds?

What have the teams achieved?
A methodology and tools for the creative industries to translate societal issues into opportunities for Smart Textile PSS’s. An ‘inspirational test-bed’ where proposals for these systems are realised and studied in context.

Timeframe and communication:
Smart Textile Services started in 2011 and finished in 2015. Throughout the project, we published articles in journals and conference proceedings in the fields of industrial design, computer-human interaction, empirical aesthetics ad health and care research. Progress was published via this website and explored in workshops.

Who was involved?
Scientific partners: Eindhoven University of Technology, Delft University of Technology, the Design Academy Eindhoven and Saxion University of Applied Sciences;
Industry and Societal partners: Audax Textiel Museum, V2_, Waag Society, Modint, Contact Groep Textiel, Unit040 Ontwerp, Metatronics en De Wever

Project leaders
Prof. dr. ir. Caroline Hummels, Eindhoven University of Technology
Dr. Oscar Tomico, Eindhoven University of Technology

Dr. ir. Stephan Wensveen, Eindhoven University of Technology (until 2011)
Prof. dr. Kees Overbeeke, Eindhoven University of Technology (until 2011)


BB Suit

The BB.Suit 0.1 showcases a new way of 3D knitting by embedding copper yarns for connecting Wifi and GPS technology inside. The suit was tested during SXSW, a music and technology festival in Austin (USA). A model’s location was broadcasted on Google Maps and invited musicians to upload their tracks to a purpose-built website that uses the suit as a walking URL. The prototype was a success and helped to curate an eclectic playlist, but more importantly, it demonstrated how truly wearable technology could lead to vastly different user experiences. The shape of the 3D knitted garment is defined by the graphics, and contains pockets with space in the fabric to store the chips needed for the GPS, WIFI and future options. The two layers of cotton hide, protect and route the copper cables between the components. 

South by Southwest (Austin, Texas) (13.3.2014 – 22.3.2014)
Design Column #8 – Beyond the Senses, 17.05.2014 – 21.09.2014, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Beijing Design Week, Dashilar Area, Beijing, China (September 26 – October 3).
Piet-Hein Eek, Dutch Design Week (October 18 – October 27, 2014).
Mind the Step exhibition, Klokgebouw Eindhoven, Dutch Design Week, (October 18 – October 27, 2014).
Smart Textiles – Wearable Services, TextielMuseum Tilburg (21.1.2015 - 22.2.2015)