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Overcoming Challenges To Bring Smart Fabrics To Market At LOOMIA

April 30, 2019

In anticipation of this year's pre-conference workshop, we reached out to Madison Maxey, Founder and Technical Lead at LOOMIA Technologies Inc., to discuss best practices and explore actionable strategies for overcoming the challenges commonly associated with bringing e-textiles, smart fabrics, and other soft circuit systems to market.

With a passion for materials and creative technology, Madison's work with soft circuit systems focuses on bringing flexible circuitry (e-textiles) to scale - and has led her to develop prototypes and educational workshops for companies like  The North Face, Google, PVH, Flextronics, Adidas, Corning, and more.

Your workshop at this year’s WEAR Conference will cover strategies for getting an e-textile product to market. Why is it important for others in your industry to hear this message? What are some of the key take-aways? 

We ran into a ton of challenges with testing our product and we want to share our experiences with others to help the industry grow. Right now, it’s so easy to get stuck in an unknown zone with product development where it’s not clear how to test the product for the market and we want to help attendees avoid that. Attendees should walk away with a deeper understanding of prototyping for scale, testing, certification, and product development practices for e-textile products.

What advice would you give someone that is just breaking into the wearable market?

I would encourage that person to think about scale from day one. I think that there are a million great use cases, but manufacturing and getting them to market is often the biggest challenge.

Which emerging technologies or new product developments have the potential to become an industry game changer? How would these new developments affect the wearable and smart fabric market? 

I think the etching technology from VT Tech / Statex is a real game changer. They make high performance conductive materials and can now pattern them into geometries to make antennas and more. This means an entirely new kind of circuit board for ultra-thin wearables.

If you could have immediate access to one thing on your technology wish list (existing or conceptual), what would you choose and why? How would access to this product/solution help you to reach your business goals?

I really wish we had access to a “washability analyzer” something that would analyze how washing broke your product and how you can fix it! To analyze how washing degrades our materials, we often use SEM, which is expensive and time consuming. I wish the materials could speak for themselves.

What sessions or topics are you most looking forward to hearing about at WEAR 2019? 

I’m really excited to hear Chris Jorgenson’s talk on IPC standards and Stephanie Rodger’s talk from Apex Mills. Overall, I’m eager to hear about testing and product development!