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)


  • Interview with Marina Toeters Interview on smart fabrics conference

Print Dress (Test One)

3D printing is becoming quite common, but right now the focus is mainly on printing total objects or (in fashion) garments instead of making components that can be connected to ‘build’ the total garment as is usual in conventional fashion. Think of pattern parts, shoulder padding, lining, and buttons. The 3D printing technique could perfectly fit to this approach, as some parts need to have other properties than other parts. 3D Print Dress test #1 combines 3D print properties versus textile properties. More specifically shows how to connect printed parts to textile parts. 3 different joints were made: a slide-in system to connect the shoulder parts, a weave-through fixation to connect the waist belt, and in-printed buttons to connect the closing system. The last one was production wise the most complex as the fabric had to be brought into the printing machine while it was printing the buttons.

Spine Dress, 3D print dress test #1, @ Lecture ArtDeCo (Tilburg, NL) (10.03.2014)
TexTales, Tactile Dialogues, Vibe-ing, Unlace, Spine Dress, 3D print dress test #1 @ “Tradition meets Future” (Horst, NL) (23.3.2014 – 28.9.2014)
Spine Dress, 3D print dress test #1, @ Future Devices, Future Devices of Cambridge Consultancy, (London, GB) (27.03.2014)
STS CRISP Exhibition @ Texperience Center Van Puijenbroek Textiel (30.09.2014)
Smart Textile Samples at the Theme Park of Heim Textil ( 12 – 17.1.2015)
Smart Textiles – Wearable Services, TextielMuseum Tilburg (21.1.2015 - 22.2.2015)