First the bad news. The proposal for a new Revolutionary Textile Institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense as prepared by the N.C. State College of Textiles was rejected. The multi-million dollars program will be crafted by a consortium headed by MIT. The good news: The Textile Technology Center in Belmont will be a participating agency in the MIT program, along with the Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover. The North Carolina participants are working on the creation of a textiles industry training program which would be national in scope.
The announcement of the $320 million initiative was made April 1. Some 50 companies, universities, and industry research and development entities will be involved in the thrust to push the textiles industry “into the digital age.” News reports suggested the program is to launch a Star Wars level for textiles with the embedding of a variety of tiny semiconductors and sensors into fabrics that can see, hear, communicate, store energy, warm or cool a person or monitor the wearer’s health.
Sam Buff, director of the Textile Technology Center, said the N.C. State College of Textiles is expected to be invited to participate.