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Smart Fabrics: Getting Smarter

Emerging Trends in Research, Technology and Public Policy

Advances in technology have brought together the apparel, technology, and textile industries to develop new capabilities in fabrics with the potential to change how athletes, patients, soldiers, first responders, and everyday consumers interact with their clothes and other textile products.

Known as “smart fabrics,” these new high-tech products have the ability to interact with their user or the environment, including tracking and communicating data about their wearer or environment to other devices through embedded sensors and conductive yarns. The applications for these new capabilities are broad with most smart fabric product development currently seen in the fields of defense, sports/fitness, health, and public safety.

Reaching the market’s full potential will require not just overcoming technical challenges but also bridging differences in how these distinct industries approach product development and addressing various public policy issues, including trade policy.

To foster greater collaboration between the U.S. apparel, technology, and textile industries and to identify the public policies that could accelerate the design and manufacture of smart fabrics products by U.S. companies, the Department of Commerce in partnership with the Industrial Fabrics Association International will host the “Smart Fabrics: Getting Smarter” Summit on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. This event will build on the success of the 2016 Smart Fabrics Summit and highlight emerging trends and new technology in this growing market.

Through a day of panel discussions and industry demonstrations, the Summit will:

  1. Bring together industries that need to collaborate in order for the emerging smart fabrics industry to meet its full potential and accelerate its development by U.S. manufacturers;
  2. Improve mutual understanding of the needs of private sector industries and the roles of public sector agencies; and
  3. Spur original thinking among public and private sector organizations about how new or existing policies affect current and future smart fabrics products.

The issues that will be explored at the Smart Fabrics Summit include: (1) research and development funding, (2) intellectual property, (3) standards, (4) data security and privacy, and (5) product development trends.

The Smart Fabrics Summit will feature an exciting series of lively panel discussions on urgent policies affecting the development of the smart fabrics industry and demonstrations of innovative new smart fabrics products by private companies. Below is a general outline of the Summit’s agenda with speakers and presenters still to be finalized.

  • 6am - 7:30am

    Exhibitor and Sponsor Set Up

  • 7:45am

    Registration & Continental Breakfast

  • 8:25am

    Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • 8:30am

    Current Developments in the Smart and Interactive Fabrics Market

    Presented by: Jeffrey Rasmussen, Director of Market Research, Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI)

    This presentation of the smart and interactive fabrics market focuses mostly on the U.S. marketplace. It provides a comprehensive overview into recent smart fabric applications used in a number of government, commercial, medical, and consumer market segments. Market segments include developments in the military and law enforcement safety and protective market, the wearable electronics consumer retail market, the biophysical monitoring market, and more. Nanotechnology and how it is used in various market segments, such as the U.S. military will also be discussed. Future directions for
    smart fabrics will be presented along with market size and growth rate figures for the global and U.S. smart fabric markets.

  • 9:05 am

    Education and Collaboration: The Key to Moving Smart Fabrics Forward

    Presented by: Dr. Qaizar Hassonjee, President, Hass Tech Associates and Chris Semonelli, President, Coated Technical Solutions

    Smart Textiles provides the opportunity to evolve the textile industry for a globally competitive low margin business to an innovative high margin industry. This will drive higher wage employment, economic growth and prosperity in the region. The presentation will discuss the market back innovation methodology using multi-disciplinary approach as well as specific case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach. It will discuss how a partnership with a state department of education has engaged students in middle school, high school and university in the smart fabrics industry. It will also explore how universities are the essential organizations that can bring the diverse functions (textile design, electronics, engineering, UI/UX design, data analytics and marketing) together and how this multi-disciplinary is essential to develop end use applications. Smart Textile is a great platform to train students to become innovators and entrepreneurs. This will lead to creation a portfolio of start-ups that evolve into successful businesses.

  • 9:40 am

    Smart Fabrics Standards: A Government Regulator’s Perspective

    Representatives of various U.S. government agencies, including the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), will discuss their agencies’ involvement in the emerging smart fabrics/e-textiles space. Discussion topics will include labeling, safety standards, healthcare standards and certification/testing requirements, and enforcement. Agencies will also discuss why a government regulation might be developed and implemented as opposed to adopting an industry-led standard, how stakeholders can provide input, what existing standards and regulations apply to emerging smart fabrics technologies, and where there are gaps in existing standards and regulations that may require new rules to be developed to account for changes in smart fabrics technology.

  • 10:30am

    Coffee & Networking Break

  • 10:45am

    First Responder Requirements for Smart Fabrics

    Presented by: William Deso, Program Manager, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate First Responders Group

    First Responders have an increasing need for communications equipment, sensors for environmental and physiological monitors, and other specialized equipment for the performance of their duties. Due to the increased amount of equipment that responders now require, there is a requirement to reduce the weight of the equipment they are carrying while still maintaining required safety and communications functionality. Smart fabrics and advanced textiles have the potential to enable responders to perform their functions quicker, safer, and more efficiently. Potential responder uses for smart fabrics and advanced textiles include regulation of body heat, functioning as either environmental or physiological sensors, enabling flexible wiring networks for the transmission of data and power, and generation of energy to power first responder equipment to reduce the number of batteries they have to carry. These potential uses, along with responder needs and requirements will be discussed, along with the extreme environmental conditions and unique scenarios in which they can operate.

  • 11:20am

    Smart Fabrics Standards: A Standards Development Organization’s Perspective

    Representatives from ASTM International, IPC (the Association Connecting Electronics Industries), and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) will discuss how standards development organizations (SDOs) identify areas in which new or updated standards are needed for the emerging smart fabrics and e-textiles sector, how various organizations work together to ensure that standards do not overlap, and how private sector representatives can get involved in standards work groups. Discussion topics will also include information on each organization’s current slate of work and will identify gaps in existing standards that may require the development of new standards and/or test methods to aid in the development of emerging smart fabrics technology.

  • 12:15pm

    Keynote Lunch Presentation

    Description coming soon

  • 1:45pm

    Yarn is the Next Invention

    Presented by: Stephanie Rodgers, Director, Advanced Product Developments, Apex Mills Corporation

    Yarn is the first component in any textile structure.  Filament or staple, covered or coated, it is integral that yarn selection and processing enables the performance of the final application.  Yarn producers are adopting more specialty yarns and treatments into fabrics allowing designers and engineers to achieve higher sustained performance geared to add longevity and sustainability to end products, especially smart fabrics and e-textiles.  Integrated e-textile scale-up has its challenges and rewards. Memberships with organization such as AFFOA are creating advanced pathways to new markets using e-textiles and blowing our minds with new yarn formation techniques.

  • 2:05pm

    Trends in Public-Private R&D Partnerships on Smart Fabrics

    ​Representatives from U.S. research universities and public-private partnerships will discuss their current research into smart fabrics and wearable technology, specific products that are currently being developed for commercialization, and views on future trends in smart fabrics research and development. Panelists will also provide information on how private sector companies can engage with these organizations for research, development, testing, and other collaboration.​

  • 2:50pm

    Session #8

    Description coming soon

  • 3:25pm

    Data Security and Privacy for Connected Textiles and Apparel

    Panelists will discuss concerns related to data security and privacy, and how product developers should address the challenges of protecting personal data collected by smart fabrics and wearables. Panelists will provide an overview of current standards and regulations related to smart fabrics and wearable products, as well as share best practices for implementing internal controls to mitigate risk of data security breaches.

  • 4:15pm

    Session #10

    Description coming soon

  • 4:45pm

    Coffee & Networking Break

  • 5:00pm

    Keynote Presentation

    Title and description coming soon

  • 5:45pm

    Concluding Remarks

  • 5:50pm

    Networking Reception

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

To learn more about the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and to view directions, parking and other details, please click here.

There are no room blocks associated with Smart Fabrics Summit 2018. Below is a list of hotels near the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center:

Hamilton Hotel
1001 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
Site | 202-682-0111

Club Quarters Hotel
839 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20006
Site | 202-463-6400

JW Marriott Washington DC
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 202-393-2000

InterContinental The Willard Washington DC
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 1-800-863-7818

The W Washington DC
515 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 202-661-2400

Washington Marriott at Metro Center
775 12th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Site | 202-737-2200

Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square
806 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Site | 202-730-8800

Courtyard by Marriott Washington Convention Center
900 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 202-638-4600

Monaco Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel
700 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 202-628-7177

CAMBRiA hotels & suites
899 O Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001
Site | 202-552-5427

Renaissance Washington DC
999 Ninth Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Site | 202-898-9000

For more information on sponsorship, please contact:
Mark Berriman,, 651-225-6909.