It was known to ancient Chinese traders as mermaid silk and mentioned on the Rossetta Stone. Those who weave it swear a Sea oath to never profit from its production….
Assuming you’re happy that yeast is definitely not an animal (it’s a fungus….I double-checked) then Zoa is an animal-free alternative to leather. as far as I understand it there’s a bit of DNA cut-and-shut which is re-homed into little yeast cell factorys which grow the… Read More »Nobody’s skin…
I find saddle points (or hyperbolic paraboloids as they’re mathematically known) a deeply pleasing shape. This little hook was developed as part of a large project we’ve been collaborating on. It’s strong and safe as it has no sharp edges. For more hyperbolic paraboloid and… Read More »No exaggeration, I think saddle points are amazing..
As a child Dr Franz Freudenthal visited indigenous communities in the mountains of Bolivia with his doctor grandmother. On these trips she would quote a snippet of Rudyard Kipling “Something hidden. Go and find it.
A focus on frugality and a willingness to explore unlikely mechanisms has led this team of Stanford bioengineers to develop an incredibly low cost ‘paperfuge’ – a centrifuge made of paper that requires no electricity – as a diagnostic tool to serve the one billion… Read More »A playful solution to a serious problem
We’re always interested to come across materials that meet particular requirements. In this case a leather alternative that is not an animal product. Muskin is a material based on a large parasitic fungus that grows on trees in subtropical forests. It is similar in appearance… Read More »Fungus based leather alternative
A big theme in textiles and materials development at the moment is sustainability and recycling so this story about egg packaging made of eggs has scrambled our minds. Researchers as Tuskegee University added egg shell nanoparticles (350,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair) to… Read More »A cracking idea
Georgie is a textile prototyper with a background in costume construction, tailoring and bridal. Georgie’s interest in costume was born out of a desire to explore different and unusual materials, construction techniques and the chance to create something visually exciting and that communicates to its… Read More »Georgie Leigh
Designer Suzanne Lee has produced (and continues to develop) a fabric that comes from a zoogleal mat formed during the fermentation of a sweetened tea. The fabric that is produced is still made up of cellulose (like cotton, linen, viscose and rayon) but it comes… Read More »Pickled fabric? Not quite, but it is grown in a jar.
In his book, Things come apart, Todd McLellan takes everyday objects, breaks them down into their constituent parts, lays them out and photographs them. These images highlight the hidden complexity of the products around us.
…turn the heating down and put another jumper on, except that now that extra jumper might be dip-coated in a silver nanowire solution that makes the fabric highly radiation insulating.
Interesting to chat to Hal Watts from Unmade at a reception for The 1851 Commission (an amazing organisation who funded both Hal and me to study at the RCA) about knitting as the earliest form of Additive Manufacture. In knitting you take a continuous material… Read More »Knitting as the first additive manufacturing
Tackling head injuries for all rugby players The Rugby world is growing increasingly aware of the effect of head injuries on players long term health so N-Pro determined to create a product that could reduce the risk of head injuries. We helped N-Pro to realise… Read More »N-Pro: the world’s safest scrumcap
Researchers at the University of Rochester have developed a cloaking device that uses standard lenses and optical equipment rather than exotic materials. It works across a range of distances and angles and avoids distortion of the background which often reveals that cloaking is being attempted.… Read More »Not quite as convenient as an invisibility cloak…
For a long time all bikes were made of steel, then came aluminium and then carbon fibre. For fairly similar reasons (improved strength per unit weight) KONE have developed the Ultrarope (TM) lift cables based on a carbon fibre core.
I still remember being a child and my Grandad telling me that black was the absence of all light. It was an astonishing thought as I couldn’t fathom how it could be absence if I could see it.
Thread attended a consultation workshop for the UK textile community exploring textile R & D priorities for 2017-2020 organised by the Knowledge Transfer Network. One of the main themes was development of textiles that can integrate with data gathering equipment for monitoring purposes eg medical. Another strong theme was… Read More »The future of textiles R&D in the UK
We’re looking for a highly skilled textile prototyper to help us create beautifully well-finished 3D prototypes of a diverse range of products eg. Rucksacks, body armour, pouches for medical devices, technical sports clothing etc.
Inspiration can come from many places and often seems to come from seemingly unrelated fields. I was recently at the Science Museum’s Cosmonauts exhibition and found the clothing particularly fascinating. (Frustratingly for me there was almost no information on what the garments were made of… Read More »The wrong trousers went into space in 1971!
We develop and incorporate mechanical and functional features such as mechanisms and moulded fixtures into products we design, and can develop moulded components, mechanisms and internal structural elements.
We work closely with our clients to realise their aims. Some know exactly what they want their product to be like, and others come to us with a problem to solve. Collaborative sessions are a great way to find solutions, generate ideas and drive innovation:… Read More »Industrial design
Manufacture lead times often get extended by toing and froing with the factory. This is why we take an engineering approach to technical packs; Patterns, samples and detailed specifications eliminate ambiguity in the handover from designer to manufacturer, minimising errors that can arise through misinterpretation.
We source materials, fixtures and fittings from a wide range of suppliers, from local retailers to global manufacturers. Our materials library is continually growing and contains materials fromcotton canvas to highly technical textiles. We are continually looking for new fabrics to fulfil our clients needs
Great to see a project we contributed to being launched. We worked with Kinneir Dufort to develop the body armour prototypes and produced the final prototype shown in the video in house at Thread. Website link: MOD unveils futuristic uniform design, 16th September 2015
An interesting conference in Cambridge with several thought-provoking talks. Kresse (of Elvis & Kresse) was particularly inspirational and challenging. I saw her speak when the company was just starting out and fell in love with the reclaimed firehose material. It’s an amazing story of rescuing… Read More »EPSRC centre for innovative manufacturing in industrial sustainability: fourth annual conference
In 2011, Edgar Martin spent 9 days exploring the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in star City, Moscow as part of a project to record the work of a space programme from an artistic point of view.
For the last 5 years Thread have been working with Kinneir Dufort, providing design support, fabric sourcing, prototyping and manufacture data for soft medical products they design for leading international healthcare clients
Making is at the heart of all projects at Thread. We prototype to explore, develop, test, communicate and sell ideas, concepts and products. This important with all design projects, and is especially important with textiles. Our prototyping studio is well equipped with industrial sewing machines,… Read More »Prototyping
Books, Google, primary research, user research, inspiration; all these help to bring understanding to a design project. Insights drive projects and facilitate successful design. Research, and particularly user research helps generate insight. We also use research to identify manufacturers, suppliers, new technologies and materials, processes… Read More »Research
With a penchant for making products that have a distinct impact on a user’s quality of life, Rachel is our textiles specialist with a background in manufacturing and industrial design engineering.
Sam loves technical problem solving. From designing a ventilation system for high-performance outdoor clothing to developing aids for disabled children. He’s happy so long as there is a problem that would benefit from a solution.
Really interested to see the M&S ‘shwop’ coat. Firstly, it’s great that clothes that are unsuitable for charity shops or reuse can still have value. Secondly, it reduces costs. Lastly, I find the rebranding of what is actually a fairly old idea quite funny.
India has a long history of textile skill in development and production. This is reflected in the number of words we have in English that derive from Indian languages including calico, gingham, khaki, seersucker and chintz.
Silk is an extraordinary material with several amazing properties. It can provide excellent ballistic protection and has been used extensively in the past and perhaps slightly more surprsingly is part of the current issue of kit for British soldiers.
Jacquard weaving is a development of traditional loom weaving that integrates a system of punched cards (see above) that can control the position of the warp (lengthways threads) and therefore what colour and pattern is visible on the surface of the fabric. These punchcards automate… Read More »19th century digital
Shirin Gerami crosses the line at WTS Edmonton as Iran’s first and only female triathlete! Thread and Shirin worked together to make the specialised kit that had to provide complete coverage with minimal effect on mobility and thermal burden. In a world of minimal, one-piece… Read More »Shirin Gerami: Iran’s first female triathlete
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have that a small plant-hopping insect, the Issus, has hind leg joints that very closely resemble mechanical gears like those in a car gearbox.
When I was on honeymoon in New Zealand a few years ago we gatecrashed (politely asked if we could join in) a symposium at the University of Otago entitled “Technologies in Sport: Performance, Bodies and Ethics”. Probably not most people’s idea of a good use… Read More »MIPS helmet technology
With increasing demand for sustainable alternatives so it makes sense to minimise the weight of the sustainable energy production system so that it’s easier to deliver and uses less fossil fuel to do so! GE are developing a woven fabric that is based on fibreglass… Read More »Wind turbine blades covered in fabric? A modern technology that sounds like an old one.
Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois have developed a lithium-ion battery that can be stretched to 300% of its original size and still function.
It’s not often there’s an overlap between textile product design and forensic science, but research undertaken by Poulomi Bhadra (an MSc student at King’s College, London) in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police and the Natural History Museum seems to have found one.
The Leckey Leeway pelvic cradle (that Thread helped Leckey to develop) has just been launched. It provides improved postural support and proprioceptive feedback for wheelchair users.
We’ve just returned from the techtextil tradefair in Frankfurt. Technical textiles and non-wovens as far as the eye could see! Some interesting new materials and some great new suppliers.
Just finished a quote for some potential work on prosthetic limbs (which we’re very excited about). We came across this amazing organisation during a bit of background research.
A series of garments were shown in Iris Van Herpen’s collection at Paris Fashion Week S/S 2013 that were 3D printed in a single piece using Materialse’s Mammoth Sterolithography machines.
Researchers at the Bio-Inspired Materials and Devices Laboratory at Virginia Tech have developed and are testing a hydrogen fuel powered robotic jellyfish.
The Igarashi Design Interface Project at the Japan Science and Technology Agency is developing software that allows the user to draw in physical space on a mannequin to generate digital patterns that can be manipulated in software.
Hövding starts as a collar which deploys in an accident to protect the head, much like an airbag would. Hövding started out as Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin’s industrial design master thesis at Lund University in spring 2005. Their aim was to try to make… Read More »An alternative cylcle helmet…Hövding – an inflatable head protector
I’m specifying the strength requirements for webbing straps on a product. I don’t think I need it quite as robust as the webbing below though.
This photo is from the latest rhino move, where 19 of the creatures were taken by WWF, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, SANParks, and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife on a 1,000 mile journey across South Africa to reside in a new location in the Limpopo province.
We received two samples of 50mm wide webbing today and there was a “The Devil wears Prada” moment when we were discussing which would work best in a particular design and somebody exclaimed that it wasn’t an obvious decision as they were just so different!
“Saying that someone is simple is a little bit insulting, whereas it should be the highest compliment. It’s very simple to make things difficult and very difficult to make things simple. Things generally start simple, get difficult, then become simple again. The middle bit is where you learn the value of simplicity and try to regain it.”
Interview with Professor Kevin Warwick about his work on brain-controlled robots. An unusual combination of Electrical Engineering and Biology.
Article link: Kevin Warwick interview, The Engineer, 03/10/11