Would you say that it is inevitable that robots will be, if not already, part of the fashion technology movement? We like to think so. Championing revolutionary milestones such as the recently announced automation of sewing certainly keep us believing that nothing is impossible.
The recent robot revolution comes courtesy of Seattle-based technology startup Sewbo Inc. They are making robots ‘inability to handle limp, flexible fabrics’ a thing of the past. Their solution was to temporarily stiffen the fabric because conventional robots work more easily with fabrics that feel like a sheet of material. After the robot has completed its task the water-soluble stiffener is removed at the end of the manufacturing process with a simple rinse in hot water. Leaving the fabric soft, a great perk is that the stiffener can be recovered for reuse.
The man behind the idea is 30 year old Jonathan Zornow. Inspired by temporary support materials for 3D printers, which are water-soluble plastics that could be melted and molded, Zornow has applied the same concept to the garment industry. A graduate of Economics from Brandeis University, the young inventor shared “Our technology will allow manufacturers to create higher-quality clothing at lower costs in less time than ever before. Avoiding labor issues and shortening supply chains will help reduce the complexity and headaches surrounding today’s intricate global supply network. And digital manufacturing will revolutionize fashion, even down to how we buy our clothes by allowing easy and affordable customization for everyone.”
What we have found impressive about Zornow’s innovation is that he used an off-the-shelf industrial robot in order to achieve his goal. That is why we take our hat off to Sewbo, they have successfully managed to teach a robot how to operate a consumer sewing machine. Planning on commercializing their technology, we look forward to seeing this great achievement, becoming the norm in the fashion industry. Especially from the perspective of sustainability.