E-Textile Circuits Manufacture

Designing Automation Tools for Manufacturing Advancements

E-textile products are a fast-growing area of the wearable technology industry. However, commercial efforts are often hampered by the significant cost and complexity of developing and manufacturing new products. Current product development processes rely on non-standardized components, trial-and-error prototyping, and manufacturing processes unique to the specific product, because the kind of development and design for manufacture tools that are commonplace for rigid electronics do not exist for textile-based systems.

Professor Lucy Dunne (Apparel Design; Co-Director, Wearable Technology Lab) and Associate Professor and MSI PI John Sartori (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and their research team are seeking to develop electronic design automation tools to support the development and manufacture of e-textile products. As part of this larger effort, they are currently working on a project called “A Design for Manufacturability Framework for E-Textile Circuits and Systems,” which seeks to characterize the information and information exchange requirements throughout the e-textile development and manufacturing processes and the mismatches between current software solutions in the development pipeline, establish parameters for design rules and rule checks specific to e-textiles, and apply this information framework to characterize parameters and processes related to one method of e-textile fabrication as a test-case (stitched Textile Circuit Boards). This will produce a reference architecture for design and manufacturing automation tools specific to e-textiles.

This project recently received a Research Computing Seed Grant. RC Seed Grant funds are intended to promote, catalyze, accelerate and advance U of M-based informatics research in areas related to the MnDRIVE initiative, so that U of M faculty and staff are well prepared to compete for longer-term external funding opportunities. This Seed Grant falls under the Robotics research area of the MnDRIVE initiative.

As of September 2023, the RC Seed Grant programs have been revised into the DSI Seed Grant programs. DSI Seed Grants include many of the same goals as the old program, with a new emphasis on data science. Complete information about DSI Seed Grants, including application deadlines, can be found on the RC website.

Manufacturability Framework for E-Textile Circuits and Systems
General information framework for design for manufacturability of e-textile products.

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