03. July 2019 | Research & Development

Research project combines smart textiles with IT security

Smart components are being integrated into more and more garments and other textile products. But what about IT security in this still relatively new field? An interdisciplinary research project at the Albstadt-Sigmaringen University of Applied Sciences is dedicated to this question.

From automated communication with the washing machine to intelligent theft protection and vital monitoring: technology in textiles can make products "smarter". Smart textiles are textiles that bring additional benefits. On the one hand, there are textiles that interact with their environment in a chemical-physical way. They are summarised under the term I-Textiles. On the other hand, there are products that are equipped with electronics, for example with a heater or sensors. These are referred to as E-Textiles. Due to the increasing integration of electronic components - for example for communication - it is important to focus on IT security.

"The Smart Textiles market will grow strongly in the coming years," says Prof. Manuela Bräuning. Germany is already the world market leader in technical textiles and smart textiles. "So far, however, there is no comprehensive overview of the integrated components in Smart Textiles products, which makes it difficult to assess the topic of safety". In addition, although traditional textile companies develop new products in the Smart Textiles sector, they generally have no know-how in the area of IT security. The aim of the SEKT research project is to systematically analyse this area and improve the IT security of future smart textile products.

The interdisciplinary project of the engineering and computer science faculties recently invited all project and network partners to a kick-off meeting in Albstadt. Employees of the following companies had travelled from all over Germany for the kick-off meeting: Autoflug GmbH from Rellingen, Hugo Boss AG from Metzingen, medi GmbH & Co. KG from Bayreuth, Interactive Wear AG from Starnberg, MeetNow! GmbH from Albstadt, sodge IT GmbH from Balingen and the Institute for Knowledge Management and Knowledge Transfer of the IHK Reutlingen.

Further supporters of the project are the Association of the South German Textile and Clothing Industry - Südwesttextil, the Technology Workshop Albstadt, the Wehrwissenschaftliches Institut für Werk- und Betriebsstoffe, the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and the Faculty of Law of the University of Hamburg.
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edited by Petra Gottwald

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