In a bid to nurture emerging industries, and grow them to scale in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been chosen to lead an innovation institute, focused on textile and fibre manufacturing.
MIT will be tasked with leading the research into fibres that have the functionality of semiconductors – as well as development of a rapid prototyping and testing centre for “revolutionary fibres and textiles manufacturing”.
The Cambridge-based project – Revolutionary Fiber and Textile Manufacturing Innovation Institute – will bring together a consortium of 89 universities, manufacturers and non-profit organisations and join forces with companies like audio equipment maker Bose, computer chip maker Intel, and nanofibre manufacturer FibeRio, apart from partnering with textile manufacturers and users such as Warwick Mills and shoemaker New Balance.
Governor Charlie Baker, who will be announcing this on Friday, said, “This manufacturing innovation institute will be the national leader in developing and commercializing textiles with extraordinary properties. It will extend to an exciting new field our ongoing efforts to nurture emerging industries, and grow them to scale in Massachusetts. And it will serve as a vital piece of innovation infrastructure, to support the development of the next generation of manufacturing technology, and the development of a highly skilled workforce.”
The project will be funded by Pentagon and a few non-federal sources, with US $75 million and $250 million being given by each respectively. The five-year public-private partnership was awarded through the Federal National Network for Manufacturing Innovation competition.
As per a Pentagon press release, “By bringing together high-tech firms and textile makers, the institute aims to create fabrics that can ‘see, hear, sense, communicate, store energy, regulate temperature, monitor health, change color, and more’.”