Smart Fabric Summit gives students opportunity to present on original textiles research
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Smart Fabric Summit gives students opportunity to present on original textiles research

Aug 02, 2023

The Smart Fabric Summit is an annual research event dedicated to emerging technologies in smart textiles, materials that can sense and respond to changes in their environment. The two-day event on April 11 and 12 included interactive facility tours, research showcases and networking opportunities.

The event began with opening remarks from Dr. Amanda C. Mills, an assistant research professor in the Department of Textile Engineering. Mills helped organize the event and serves as one of the main announcers for the event. She got involved through her research within the Wilson College of Textiles and the many classes she teaches.

Mills said one of the highlights of her job is getting to work with undergraduate researchers and involvement with new students' ideas. One of the things she’s most excited about is the large amount of research from NC State students that will be presented this year.

“Because we do a broad range of undergraduate research and also because smart fabrics is a broad field, we really wanted to recruit students with different backgrounds this time,” Mills said. “We really made an effort to recruit students from outside the College of Textiles; we worked with the Assist Center to recruit students in electrical engineering or students doing biomedical research.”

Ethan Hill, a fourth-year studying textile design, presented research at the summit. Hill got involved with the event through the engineering senior design capstone project.

“The senior design project, for textile engineering specifically, is a year-long design project, where you usually interact with sponsors,” Hill said. “We work with a knitting lab and Zeis Textiles Extension in order to create our own fabrics or create our own devices, usually creating about one to three prototypes throughout the semester. And then finally, at the end of the semester, we present our findings and hopefully a good project to our sponsors.”

Mills served as Hill’s advisor throughout the senior design project and helped get him involved with the Smart Fabric Summit. Hill’s research focuses largely on smart textiles as it surrounds connecting a wearable garment to a wireless charger from a phone. Hill said he’s really excited about all the opportunities that the event presents, especially for undergraduate student researchers.

“I also want to learn a lot about smart textiles, something that I'm very excited about as a textile engineer,” Hill said. “I feel that there's a lot of these … up and coming. We're in another way of smart fabrics, and I think there's a lot of prospects in the industry.”

Both undergraduate and graduate research was presented at the event. Seonyoung Youn is a second-year Ph.D. student whose research focuses on smart clothing that helps monitor heart rates and electrocardiogram data. She got involved with the summit through her Ph.D. program advisor as well as Mills. Youn said she was most excited about presenting her work and was looking forward to seeing the hard work of other researchers.

“I'm actually presenting my current work strategically measuring the heart monitoring system, so I'm very excited to show my research work on how to then utilize the digital tour for improving the heart monitoring system,” Youn said. “I want to see everyone's comments and everyone's responses about this.”

The two-day event was a success with a large turnout of researchers, sponsors and professors, and ended with seven undergraduate and graduate students presenting their research as well as facility tours of Wilson College of Textiles.

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