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The Future of Smart Textiles Keeps Tradition with Innovation

Dr. Sandeep More serves as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Fibres & Textile Processing Technology, Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai. He obtained his PhD in Materials Chemistry from the University of Freiburg, Germany, followed by a Post-doctoral tenure in Supramolecular Chemistry at the University of Siegen, Germany.

His research interests encompass a broad spectrum, ranging from synthesizing azaacenes for organic electronics to exploring porphyrin derivatives for smart dyes, alongside investigating eco-friendly textile processing, smart textiles, and molecular machines integrated into textile surfaces.

Dr. More has contributed significantly to academia, publishing numerous papers in esteemed international journals and actively participating in national and international symposia. Notably, he has been honored with the prestigious INSPIRE Faculty Fellowship by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

Beyond his research pursuits, Dr. More shares his expertise through teaching courses on supramolecular chemistry and organic electronics. Moreover, he serves as an executive member of Textile Academia India, further enhancing his engagement within the textile academic community.

In a privileged interaction with The Interview World at Bharat Tex 2024, Dr. Sandeep More, Assistant Professor at the Department of Fibres & Textile Processing Technology, Institute of Chemical Technology, provides valuable insights into the institute’s incorporation of new courses alongside existing ones, delves into the realm of sensor-based textiles and their practical applications, and emphasizes the institute’s latest research and development endeavors. Below are the highlights gleaned from his interview.

Q: What innovative elements are being incorporated into the course curriculum at the Institute of Chemical Technology to drive advancements in the textile industry?

A: We’ve embarked on a transformative journey, introducing a plethora of new initiatives aimed at enhancing both our academic curriculum and research endeavors.

First and foremost, as we gear up for the forthcoming academic year, we’re thrilled to announce the incorporation of technical textile courses into our undergraduate and postgraduate programs. This strategic move not only aligns with industry demands but also equips our students with the latest knowledge and skills essential for thriving in today’s dynamic textile landscape.

Simultaneously, recognizing the paramount importance of expertise in technical textiles, we’ve been diligently scouting for accomplished faculty members with extensive experience in this domain. Their addition to our team will not only enrich the learning experience but also foster cutting-edge research and innovation.

In line with our commitment to staying at the forefront of textile technology, we’re venturing into exciting new research areas. From variable sensors to smart textiles and functional textiles, our department is poised to explore uncharted territories, pushing the boundaries of innovation and creativity.

Moreover, to complement our ambitious research agenda, we’re investing in the development of cutting-edge laboratory facilities. These facilities, currently in the pipeline, are meticulously designed to provide researchers with state-of-the-art resources and infrastructure. Once operational, they will serve as the nucleus of groundbreaking research, facilitating experimentation and collaboration across various disciplines.

Furthermore, as we inch closer to realizing our vision, we’re eagerly anticipating our entry into the market of smart textiles, wearable sensors, and technical textiles. With a robust foundation in research and education, coupled with our unwavering commitment to excellence, we’re poised to make a significant impact in the industry, driving innovation and shaping the future of textiles.

Q: What are the key functionalities and applications of smart sensor-based textiles, and how do they contribute to various fields?

A: Presenting groundbreaking technology, we introduce wearable pH sensors as part of our latest advancements. Among these innovations is the development of pH sensors that operate without electronic components. Instead, these sensors leverage chemical processes and are meticulously crafted using traditional textile dyeing methods, resulting in what we affectionately term ‘Woolitmus’ sensors, fashioned from wool. Woolitmus sensors boast the remarkable ability to detect pH levels spanning the acidic to basic spectrum, with each pH value triggering a distinct color change.

This high level of specificity enables precise identification of sweat composition and other relevant substances. Initially, our primary focus is on integrating these sensors into medical textiles to facilitate the diagnosis of conditions such as cystic fibrosis. Notably, these sensors offer several key advantages: they generate zero electronic waste, pose no risk of side effects, and necessitate no additional accessories for accurate pH sensing, marking a significant leap forward in sustainable and effective sensing technology.

Q: What current research projects and developments are underway at your institute?

A: In the realm of traditional textiles, our focus lies in the pioneering development of novel anti-counterfeiting agents. This endeavor entails active collaboration with the National Technical Textile Mission (NTTM), highlighting our commitment to advancing textile technology. Notably, our approach eschews the integration of electronic devices or components, instead leveraging the intrinsic properties of traditional textile dyeing processes. This emphasis on non-electronic solutions not only preserves the integrity of traditional craftsmanship but also ensures cost-effectiveness and accessibility.

Our efforts represent a paradigm shift in the textile industry, where traditional methods intersect with cutting-edge applications. By marrying age-old techniques with modern innovations, we aim to enhance the functionality and versatility of textiles. Furthermore, this fusion opens avenues for applications beyond mere aesthetics, encompassing areas such as sensing and protection. Ultimately, our endeavors seek to redefine the boundaries of traditional textiles, ushering in a new era of innovation and sustainability.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring students eager to learn emerging technologies in the textile space and carve out a career in this dynamic field?

A: In light of my journey, transitioning from a background in chemistry rather than textiles, I’ve come to appreciate the immense value of interdisciplinary collaboration within the textile industry. Initially, I embarked on this path by harnessing my knowledge and experience in chemistry, gradually immersing myself in the intricacies of textile science and technology. What struck me most profoundly is the remarkable potential for individuals from diverse fields to make substantial contributions within this domain. It’s become evident that one’s original field of interest or expertise does not limit their ability to innovate or excel in textile research and development.

By fostering an environment that encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration, we not only enrich the textile sector with fresh perspectives but also stimulate advancements across various research fields. Ultimately, this symbiotic relationship between different disciplines promises to propel the textile industry forward into new realms of discovery and innovation.

Smart Textiles – The Future of Apparel Industry
Smart Textiles – The Future of Apparel Industry
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