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AFFOA Opens $10M HQ, Unveils Two Advanced Fabric Product Platforms

June 22, 2017


Contact: Leigh Drori, AFFOA
LEIGH@AFFOA.ORG; 617.817.1522

AFFOA Opens $10 Million HQ and Unveils Two Advanced Fabric Product Platforms

Cambridge – June 19, 2017 – Advanced Functional Fabrics of America’s  (AFFOA) national headquarters and first of its kind advanced fabric prototyping facility will open today with an event featuring Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representatives Niki Tsongas and Joe Kennedy, United States Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics James MacStravic, New Balance CEO Robert DeMartini, MIT President L. Rafael Reif, and AFFOA CEO and MIT Professor Yoel Fink.

MIT and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provided major funding for the $10M facility, located at 12 Emily Street, near the MIT campus. The Fabric Discovery Center (FDC) which will feature end-to-end prototyping, start-up incubation space, and education and workforce development activities is part of a nationwide effort dedicated to the acceleration of U.S. textile manufacturing through a high-tech, value-added domestic ecosystem.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this first of its kind Fabric ‪Discovery Center and the advances and jobs it will unlock in revolutionary fabrics and textiles,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our investments and the commitment of partners from the federal government, academia and the private sector in harnessing these emerging technologies, are critical to the Commonwealth’s competitiveness in advanced manufacturing and creating job opportunities for Massachusetts’ residents.”

“AFFOA’s promise reflects the very best of MIT: It’s bold, innovative and daring.  It leverages and drives technology to solve complex problems, in service to society.  And it draws its strength from a rich network of collaborators — across governments, universities and industries,” said MIT President Rafael Reif.  “It has been inspiring to watch the partnership’s development this past year, and it will be exciting to witness the new frontiers and opportunities it will open.”

AFFOA is announcing two commercially-ready product platforms, which will be unveiled at today’s event. The first of these, being distributed to the roughly 300 people attending the unveiling, is the world’s first “internet connected” programmable backpack. The second new platform is dubbed “Fabric LiFi,” and is the world’s first fabric light-based communications system; it allows LED lights to stream information at high bandwidth to the wearer. Both product platforms, developed through AFFOA’s industry partners and prototyping network, are enabled by advanced fabrics made in the USA.

“The advanced fabric product platforms that we introduced today exemplify the future where US manufacturing innovations enable breakthrough products that benefit consumers,” said AFFOA CEO Yoel Fink.

About AFFOA and its network

AFFOA is a non-profit with over 100 members from industry, academia and non-profits dedicated to enabling a domestic manufacturing-based revolution by transforming traditional fibers, yarns, and fabrics into highly sophisticated, integrated and networked devices and systems. To enable rapid transition from idea to product, AFFOA has assembled a high-tech national product prototyping ecosystem called the Fabric Innovation Network (FIN). The FIN is made up of small, medium, and large manufacturers and academic centers that have production capabilities allocated to AFFOA projects.  Through AFFOA and the FIN, members can rapidly execute prototypes and pilot manufacturing of advanced fabric products, decreasing time to market and accelerating product innovation. AFFOA leads the convergence of advanced technology into fibers (“Moore’s Law for fibers”) resulting in fabric products that deliver value-added services to the user (“Fabrics as a service”). Through AFFOA’s activities, fabrics that see, hear, sense, communicate, store and convert energy, regulate temperature, monitor health and change color will soon be possible to benefit the consumer and warfighter. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, AFFOA is a public/private partnership and a member of the Manufacturing USA network. For more information visit www.AFFOA.ORG  or tweet @AFFOA_RFT

Press Contact
Leigh Drori