The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will lead an industry consortium tasked to build a manufacturing innovation institute for functional fabrics under a partnership agreement with the Defense Department.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Friday the 89-member Advanced Functional Fabrics of America alliance will receive as much as $317 million in federal and private-sector funds to help DoD establish and manage a Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
“This is a pioneering field combining fibers and yarns with… flexible integrated circuits, LEDs, solar cells,electronic sensors and other capabilities,” Carter told an audience during his speech Friday at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
According to DoD, the MIT-led manufacturing innovation institute will focus on exploring technologies to facilitate the production of fabric materials for military and commercial applications.
The Revolutionary Fibers & Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute will be built to help produce storage and power-generation shelters, energy-saving vehicle filters and warfighter uniforms that can work to monitor body temperature as well as detect chemical and radioactive agents.
It will mark the eighth institute under the government’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.
DoD noted it helps manage five existing institutes focused on three-dimensional printing, lightweight metals, integrated photonics, digital manufacturing and flexible hybrid electronics.