WARM CLOTHING FOR THE DISABLED
European Union Project, co-developed by Izmir University of Economics-Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, and industry, will find solution by creating special designs for heating problem of disabled people using wheelchairs, or those who cannot move. For the first time in Turkey, the “Knitted Fabric and Clothing Designs for Smart Textile” titled project will manufacture clothes that will heat the joints of disabled people and create a magnetic field.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Ozan Kayacan and Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Kayacan, Lecturers from Dokuz Eylül University, Department of Textile Engineering, take part at the project in which Prof. Dr. Ender Yazgan Bulgun, Dean of IUE Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, is the project coordinator. Prof. Dr. Bulgun said that the project, which started as a European Union Project, was a joint project with Romania. “As our project was accepted as a European Union Project, we were asked to contact scientific organizations in our countries. Market-based R&D projects which include products and processes that can be commercialized in a short time are supported by EUREKA. Each country representative, as a procedure, applies to their own national project institution to benefit from European Union funds. So, we submitted our project to TUBITAK, and now we are carrying out the project under TUBITAK. Our project, with Üniteks from Turkey and Iasi University from Romania will end in 2016”.
‘Manufactured for the first time in Turkey’
Prof. Dr. Bulgun said that they were designing clothes for the disabled that would keep them warm, and they inserted heating panels especially to the joint parts of the clothing. Bulgun stated the following:
“We manufactured such a product for the first time in Turkey. We thought about designing comfortable clothes for the disabled. We’ve found out that disabled people, especially, those who are required to sit still for extended periods of time tend to feel cold in certain parts of their body much more. So, we decided to focus our designs on that issue. We manufactured clothes that will heat the joints of disabled people and create a magnetic field. We primarily created surfaces by inserting conductive threads into knitted fabrics. Conductive threads are steel based. Knitting by using conductive threads is being done for the first time in Turkey. After knitting, we designed an electronic circuit. We designed our clothes so that the heating panels would match the back, shoulders, knees, and waistline. So we were able to provide heating function. The users can activate the heating panels whenever they want. We created almost 100 products. The heating lasts for approximately 6 hours. Our partner company is working to get patent. This has been the first EURAKA Project in Turkey in the field of textile and garment industry. Romania is also working on socks.”
Prof. Dr. Bulgun indicated that the specially manufactured threads acted as natural cables which had conductivity feature. She said that they tested the conductivity by washing the fabrics over and over and came up with no problems. Bulgun said the heating process started with the inserting of the battery and during washing, the heater circuit and the battery were easily taken off of the clothing. “We have a 100 piece special collection. All clothing is hand-washable or machine washable. We also developed a charger for circuit and battery. They are rechargeable. Conductive threads are more expensive compared to regular ones. 1 kilogram of steel conductive thread costs 200 Euros, therefore, a piece of clothing will sell for about 75 Turkish Lira,” said Prof. Dr. Bulgun.
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