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Smart textile research to take off with new institute

Posted by struscott | May 5, 2016
AMDT Assistant Professor Hang Liu
AMDT Assistant Professor Hang Liu

Hang Liu, assistant professor in the WSU Department of Apparel, Marketing, Design and Textiles, will energize her research into smart textiles, wearable sensors and next-generation fabrics as part of a new innovation institute created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Liu connected with researchers at MIT to secure WSU’s involvement in the Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute, announced April 1. The hub leverages $317 million in funding from industry, universities and the federal government.

WSU is one of 38 universities—and the only one in Washington—to join the research hub, which integrates fibers and yarns with circuits, LEDs, solar cells and other capabilities to create fabrics that can see, hear, store energy, monitor health and change color.

“People don’t always relate textiles with high tech. But I’ve always believed textiles have a huge future,” says Liu, whose research focus is on conductive nanofibers—barely visible threads that act as sensors in clothing to monitor vital signs or detect chemical or biological agents.

“This is an area with huge potential,” says Liu.

She expects to gain funding and begin work on projects for the hub in the near future.

Learn more about the institute here.