2016-06-15 09:14

The ArcInTexETN researchers are planning for the future

A fabric that thickens when stretched and the sense of smell as a new learning method? These are some examples of what the ArcInTexETN researchers discussed when they met in Eindhoven in The Netherlands to collaborate on their next steps in the project.

The researchers in the ArcInTexETN project, with its aim to research on more sustainable formof future living, met in Eindhoven in The Netherlands earlier this spring to collaborate on their next steps in the project. In spite of the fact that they have only been working in the project for one year, they have already begun thinking about and planning how the results may be produced in order to become profitable to society.

"It’s important to make sure that businesses and interested parties are involved early in the process to get them involved in the development of the researchers’ ideas," says Oscar Tomico, Assistant Professor of the Designing Quality in Interactions Design at the University of Technology in Eindhoven and one of those responsible for the ArcInTexETN project. The companies cannot only be the founders and producers of the new designs, they need to be involved in one way or another in the development as well, Oscar Tomico continues.

­­Incubation, nursery and adoption

There are three phases in the ArcINTexETN researchers' work: incubation, nursery  and adoption. The incubation phase is the development period in which the researchers are supposed to fail as much as possible. Yes, you got that right. This phase is about experimenting and testing; it’s about doing trial and error over and over. And then do it again and again. The purpose is to try out every possible method within the research area in order to find the best solutions.

During the nursery phase, the researcher has to improve and take care of the innovation to make sure it is developing and growing in the right direction. Finally, there’s the adoption phase where it’s time for the researchers to release their innovations to producers or other parties best suited for the mission.

"To become a successful researcher, you need to be able to think of these three phases simultaneously and to create a plan for each phase," Oscar Tomico notes.

As the ArcInTexETN researchers are early stage researchers – this is one of the EU requirements within the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions–many of them have just finished their Master’s degree studies. Some of them appear a bit uncertain and seem to be wondering where to begin.  But Oscar Tomico has an answer:

"This is why we have this meeting in Eindhoven. During the conference last week you all met with various companies and also other researchers that are ahead of you in their process. Now I want you to think of what they told you and to ask yourself if you want to become like them." 

About the ArcInTexETN project
The ArcInTexETN project is a training network for early stage researchers funded by EU.  Its aim is to strengthen the foundations of design for more sustainable forms of future living.

The network has a broad cross-disciplinary approach with focus on experimental design research within the areas of textile, architecture and interaction design.

The coordinator and initiator of the project is the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås involving 15 researchers from various countries who are associated with universities and businesses within the ArcInTexETN consortium.  

Ideas for the future

Then something happens in the room. This is a group of 15 scientists, each of them burning for their research, and their eyes reflect all of the thousands of ideas and innovations waiting to come to fruition. The researchers form collaborating groups and start developing their plans. The next day they present their plans to each other. There are ideas about creating a textile that when stretched and one researcher plans on trying to visualise smells, perhaps in order to use the sense of smell as a new learning method. Some are thinking about how smart technological innovations can change the world of fashion and considering developing a fashion alphabet. In the field of architecture the researchers talk about how to stop making such a big demarcation between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ as we do today. In the future, we need to create buildings that give people the possibility to enjoy air, light and temperature even when indoors.

Oscar Tomico seems content with the researchers’ work:

"These are researchers with one important goal in their minds and it is to find innovative ways to save our global resources."

Read more about ArcInTexETN.