Market forecasts and personal adoption of smart textiles in fitness sector

Title: Market forecasts and personal adoption of smart textiles in fitness sector

Funding body: AHRC

Duration: 8 Months

Position: Research fellow

School/Department: CADBE

 

The basic concept of smart textiles consists of textile structures that can sense and react to different stimuli from their environment. While forecasts indicate how this sector has the potential to grow in the future, a gap remains for smart textiles to become commercially viable. Growth in consumerism and consumption of services and experiences has led to innovative products that satisfy higher order needs including ideas, sensory and emotional fulfillment, cultural experiences and entertainment. The aim of the research is to understand smart textiles in this context and to identify factors that influence personal ownership. These will help manufacturers and technologists gain insight into consumer experience and contribute to better design, innovation, marketing and services. This research focuses on market conditions for the application of smart textiles in fitness clothing and the opportunities for product development. The findings contribute to the field of user adoption in smart textiles and conclude with proposals for the direction of future design and technical development.

To verify and expand the data obtained from literature review, a research study in the form of workshop was conducted. The aim of the workshop was to investigate the influence of experiential factors with regard to smart clothing. It consisted of a set of activities based around Shaw et al., (2010) mind space experience and interacting experience.  Shaw et al., (2010) clarifies that instead of focusing on physical experience alone, the mind journey focus on mind space experience, where psychologically the consumer is not actually interacting with the experience but influenced by it.

The main data collection of the research project consisted of a survey conducted with 128 participants with university students, researchers and designers. The structure of the survey questions was informed by the findings from the observation method and workshop, however the aim of this stage was to investigate the important features and alerts the participants value in a smart top.

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