OSU Contributes Expertise to National Textile Technology Initiative

The Ohio State University will play a key role in a $75 million national research institute announced last week by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Led by MIT, the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) Institute will be a national manufacturing resource center for industry and government, drawing on multiple universities’ research in revolutionary fibers and textiles.

Led by Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor John Volakis, Ohio State will contribute extensive research expertise in wearable textile sensors and communication devices for health monitoring, medical imaging and energy harvesting, among other purposes.

AFFOA becomes one of eight National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, a $317 million public-private effort to boost the value of American-made products on the international market. The newest NNMI institute will support American textile manufacturers in applying advanced materials and textiles to products from active wear to protective armor.

In addition to MIT and Ohio State, AFFOA is comprised of 31 universities, including Cornell, Georgia, Penn State, and Cal-Davis, and 16 industry partners including Nike, Microsoft, Goodyear, The North Face, Bose and Medtronic. In addition, 26 start-up incubators and venture capital groups have pledged their support.