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Students are siloed in their education between designers and engineers, and in the advanced textile industry, it’s imperative for these disciplines to be interwoven and understand how to work together. Further a lack of awareness exists among college students related to available careers in smart fibers and fabrics. In response to this, AFFOA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) have created a 2- week interdisciplinary workshop where students from MIT & FIT come together to work on a real world prototyping challenge provided by an industry partner that combines skills from the designers and engineers, and mutual knowledge imparted by the workshop to create an innovative textile prototype. The workshop recently completed its third iteration and the team is creating a scaling model to effectively transfer the workshop to other universities.
The broader impact of the MITx FIT program involves bringing students together across disciplines and providing them with an opportunity to interact and learn a common language. Further, the program enhances participant awareness related to future innovations for advanced fibers and fabrics and how participants can contribute to solving problems for industry.