CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — April 1, 2016 — As part of the Department of Defense effort to partner with the private sector and academia to ensure the United States continues to lead in the new frontiers of manufacturing, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that a leading consortium of 89 universities, manufacturers, and non-profits organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will spearhead a new manufacturing innovation institute in partnership with the Department of Defense to secure U.S. leadership in revolutionary fibers and textiles manufacturing.
Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) Alliance, a new non-profit research and development consortium comprised of partners from industry, academia and state governments has been selected to lead this effort following a highly competitive nationwide bid process. The agreement will be managed by U.S. Army Contracting Command — New Jersey Emerging Technologies contracting center and combines $75 million in DoD funds and nearly $250 million in cost sharing from non-federal investments for a total of over $317 million.
The institute will bring together nontraditional partners to integrate fibers and yarns with integrated circuits, LEDs, solar cells, and other capabilities to create textiles and fabrics that can see, hear, sense, communicate, store energy, regulate temperature, monitor health, change color, and more.
For example, the institute will pair the likes of leading audio equipment maker Bose, computer chip maker Intel, and nanofiber manufacturer FibeRio with textile manufacturers and textile users like Warwick Mills, Buhler Yarns, and New Balance. In doing so, the institute will accelerate technology transfer to enable revolutionary defense and commercial applications such as shelters with power generation and storage capacity built into the fabric, ultra-efficient, energy-saving filters for vehicles, and uniforms that can regulate temperature and detect threats like chemical and radioactive elements in order to warn warfighters and first responders. The combination of novel properties such as exceptional strength, flame resistance, reduced weight and electrical conductivity through this institute will lead to significant advancements in this industry.
This new institute is the sixth manufacturing hub to be awarded by the Obama administration through the Department of Defense, and the second announced personally by Secretary Carter who continues to drive innovation and build bridges across public and private sectors to ensure the U.S. military has access to the best technology for decades to come.
Posted April 1, 2016