News from the Textile and Design Lab at the Auckland University of Technology.


European industry collaboration

The Textile and Design Lab has gained further international acclaim by being recognized as a model and exemplar by the Pan European TCBL (Textile and Clothing Business Labs) initiative. The TCBL is a project funded under the H2020 programme by the European Commission to establish test beds for filling EU-wide competitiveness gaps via dynamic optimisation and deployment of business models. The TDL has already advised the TCBL on ways that it has worked to support new business initiatives in New Zealand through design, technical expertise and new textile technologies. TDL co-Director, Frances Joseph, has been invited to become a TCBL ‘Knowledge Champion’ and to attend  the first TCBL conference that will take place at the Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield, UK in June.  Read more about the TCBL project and the Textile Centre of Excellence.

Up-skilling opportunities in April

The Textile and Design Lab's short course and workshop programme kicks off in earnest in April with five courses on offer covering textile knowledge, design for digital textile printing, knitwear design and a 1-day machine felting workshop.  The programme attracts industry designers, educators, students and those who want to explore new interests outside of their normal working environment.  Read more about the labs courses and workshops.

Creative Technologies student targets sports injuries

Master of Creative Technologies student, Arien Hielkema, has focused his research on helping those with sports related injuries.  'Athletes, both professional and recreational, are likely to have to deal with injury recovery at some point in their sporting careers.  If mismanaged, lack of motivation can work against the rehabilitation process, resulting in poor adherence to prescribed exercises', says Arien.  His project is working towards the development of a smart knee brace that will be used to explore ways of movement correction with the intention of increasing adherence and recovery times, thereby helping athletes get back into sport faster and stronger than before. 
Working with TDL Senior Technician, Gordon Fraser, Arien says the knitted brace utilises electro-conductive yarn, which allows for a completely integrated and lightweight design. Inflexible wiring and unnecessary components make way for soft flexible sensors that are incorporated into the brace, which are used to capture the individual’s movement.  The use of smart fabric eliminates the majority of bulky hard circuitry commonly used for this type of application.  The brace can be personally calibrated to an individual athlete’s recovery profile.
An early stage prototype of Arien's smart knee brace
Machine felting attracts students from all creative disciplines

The lab's Feltloom was commissioned nearly twelve months ago, and in a relatively short space of time, has attracted interest from a wide range of students studying in the creative fields.  PhD student, Donna Cleveland, who has been working on her own research project using the FeltLoom, also introduces students to machine felting during induction sessions and supervises those who wish to make their own felted fabrics and products during felt-making workshops.  'The high level of interest in machine felting has taken us all by surprise', says Donna.  'We have catered for Creative Technologists, Fashion and Textile Designers, Visual Artists and Electrical Engineering students, all of whom are able to incorporate their own specific requirements into their finished products'.
Fashion and Engineering students at a recent Felting Induction Session
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