The Elitac Wearables Lab

Our 180m² in-house R&D and production facility

 

Elitac Wearables lab team at work

What is the Wearables Lab?

The Wearables Lab is our state-of-the-art experience centre, R&D and production facility. Here, we translate research results into user-validated and function-driven wearables, together with partners from the medical, safety and sports industries:

  • In-house wearables development from idea to market-ready product and any stage in-between.
  • Electronics and textile integration techniques are tailored to project requirements; We are experienced with the majority of techniques.
  • Quick turn-around from idea to working prototype.
  • Possibility of frequent design adjustments and (user) testing.
  • Streamlined, cost-efficient development process, with reduced uncertainty and risk.

Why innovate through the Elitac Wearables Lab?

1

Cutting edge of textile wearables development

With our experience and continuous research we can help you develop and select the best integration techniques for your project.
2

One stop shop

We have all the required disciplines and facilities in-house to help you develop wearables from idea all to the way to market-ready product and any stage in-between.
3

Reduced risk

By utilising the proven Elitac Wearables building blocks we can validate concept and business case early on in the development process. Depending on your design, we can build prototypes in just 2 weeks.
4

Reduced time to market

Our lean development process and well-equipped Wearables Lab allows us to move quickly through the development steps. And once the final design is confirmed, we have production partners ready to start scaled production.
5

Fit for purpose

Continuous testing and (user) validation means that our wearables are fit for purpose, robust and commercially viable.
6

Link between electronics and textile production

We facilitate the crossover between these two worlds with vastly different production processes.
3D printers

State-of-the-art equipment

At the Wearables Lab, our multi-disciplinary team have all the tools required for designing and building wearables in-house:

  • 3D printers
  • (Lockstitch) sewing machines
  • Electronics area with soldering tools, oscilloscope, multimeters
  • Laser cutter
  • Overmoulding equipment
  • Washing machines
  • Cutting plotter
  • Heat press
  • and more…

Prototyping

The state-of-the-art equipment in the Wearables Lab allows us to streamline the development process:

  • Build prototypes in 2 weeks by employing smart development techniques. For example, by designing & printing our own custom moulds, we cut out expensive 3rd party mould suppliers. As a consequence, we can test and validate designs quickly and cost-efficiently.
  • Elitac Wearables building blocks: We have a wide range of proven hardware, software, designs and techniques available to speed up the development process for our partners.
  • We have all the tools and people available for in-house PCB assembly, electronics integration, pattern making and garment construction.

Testing

Our focus is on developing wearables that are fit for purpose, durable and practical. That’s why we devote significant time and resources to testing and validation. At the Wearables Lab:

  • We have a wide range of hardware and applications to test electronic circuits, software, robustness, washability, etc.
  • We save time by designing and 3D printing our own custom test tools for electronics and hardware.
  • We conduct a variety of tests to ensure our wearables meet clients’ and users’ expectations: from controlled functional tests in the lab to uncontrolled field tests, stress tests and endurance tests.

Research

We conduct our own research and collaborate with renowned research institutes like TNO, University of Twente, University of Cergy-Pontoise, etc. Our focus on research allows us to:

  • Develop new electronics and textile integration techniques for future wearables, for example the Weafing project.
  • Optimise lab-proven integration techniques for real-world applications, for example the Cycling Shirt.
  • Explore and validate new applications for existing technologies and/or wearables, for example the Gaitkeeper project.
  • Push the limitations of current techniques and make them more widely applicable.
Research at the Elitac Wearables Lab

Scalability

In all our designs, we strive to work with scalable production techniques:

  • Our Wearables Lab has all the facilities required for first series production: up to 50 market-ready products.
  • For larger series we have a network of reliable production partners available.
  • We have experience with product certification, technical documentation and packaging design.

Equipment

Hardware and ESD-protected area

Part of the Wearables Lab is a designated electronics area:

  • Here our hardware specialists perform research, develop, test, and assemble the electronics that are embedded in our wearables.
  • To protect our electronics against static discharges (ESD) we have an ESD floor. Anyone entering our ESD protected Area (EPA) must take special precautions like wearing ESD wrist straps and an ESD safe coat.
Wearables Lab electronics area

Textile studio

In all our designs, we strive to work with scalable production techniques:

  • Here, we have a variety of sewing machines, dress forms and a laser cutter to design and create the textile carriers for our wearables.
  • This way we can make quick adjustments, speed up development and ensure the end result is both functional and comfortable.

Material bank

Our extensive collections of fabrics, hooks, zippers, cables, sensors, etc. allow us to experiment and construct wearables with different looks and feels – and start user testing earlier.

Overmoulding tools

Overmoulding is one method we use to integrate electronics and textiles: we use the custom 3D printed moulds to overmould electronics straight onto fabric. This ensures they are:

  •  Well-protected
  • Durable
  • Washable

Laser cutter

Our laser cutter offers huge advantages for soft goods design:

  • Extreme accuracy and consistency, clean cuts and sealed fabric edges to prevent fraying.
  • We use our laser cutter to slice fabrics, and create trims, templates and patterns.

3D printers

Having a variety of 3D printers at our disposal makes our development process both faster and more cost-effective. We use 3D printers to:

  • Print the moulds that we use to overmould electronics straight onto textiles, making them durable and washable.
  • Print housings for our wearables to our own specifications.
  • Print custom test tools for electronics and hardware. This allows us to start testing and scale production sooner.
Entrance to the machine room

General tools

We use a variety of other tools – column drill, grinding tools, etc. – to fine-tune moulds and plastic casings, among others.

Washing machines

We wash and wash our wearables, and wash them again. It’s the only way to ensure they are as robust and washable as we want them to be.

Contact us

If you would like to learn more about our wearables development services, please leave your details in the form and we will be in touch shortly.

Follow Us

Follow us for updates on our innovative projects, events and developments