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4th May 2017, UK

EU project launches EUR 2.4 million smart textiles competition

A wearable technology project is offering funding for teams to develop the next generation of sustainable wearables and e-textile ideas. A wearable technology project is offering up to EUR 2.4 million in funding for teams of creatives and technologists to develop the next generation of sustainable wearables and e-textile ideas. WEAR Sustain, a collaboration between seven organisations across Europe, including Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and University for the Creative Arts (UCA), launched the first of its two competition call-outs last month.

The programme is seeking applications from teams of art, design, technology or engineering practitioners and businesses to co-develop compelling, ethical, innovative and sustainable solutions for wearable technology and e-textiles.

A total fund of EUR 2.4 million will offer 48 teams up to EUR 50,000 each in support via innovation vouchers and with input from mentors, experts and hubs across Europe to develop prototypes and help take ideas to market. The 48 prototypes will exemplify ethics and sustainability in wearable technology and e-textiles and will be exhibited at a final showcase event in late 2018.

Rare opportunity

“This project represents such a rare opportunity for people and businesses in different sectors to collaborate and also access real financial support and expertise in areas such as prototyping, business and venturing,” said Rachel Lasebikan, Senior Research and Innovation Manager at QMUL.

“We’re not looking for experts in wearables but to help get great ideas off the ground and, set a benchmark for ethics and sustainability in the technology field.”

WEAR Sustain’s goal, in line with the European Commission's, is to develop best practices for future creative and technology collaborations. In addition, it will create sustainable and ethical innovation methodologies for wearable technology, smart and electronic textiles.

Ethics in technology

Competition applicants must address one of seven ethics and sustainability themes, such as manufacturing, waste, energy and health, as well as personal data and ethics, during the development of their prototypes.

A Sustainability Strategy and free online handbook will be published at the end of the project to enable citizens, entrepreneurs and other industry stakeholders become more aware of the issues in making and using wearable technologies, and to encourage the use of recommended best practices for the future of society.

“Our aim is to boost synergies between technology and the arts across Europe and highlight awareness of ethics in technology, using wearables and e-textiles to explore key issues such as personal data, ethics and sustainability in current technology use. Through this process WEAR Sustain will help pave the way towards a new generation of wearables and e-textiles that are more ethical, critical and aesthetic,” commented Dr Camille Baker, Reader at University of the Creative Arts.


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