Prof. Andrew Cobley
Professor of Electrochemical Deposition, Coventry University
Prof. Andrew Cobley began working in printed circuit board (PCB) manufacture in 1986 for British Aerospace (Stevenage). Subsequently, in 1989, he joined Shipley Europe Ltd where he installed PCB manufacturing processes at some of the largest electronic manufacturers in Europe including Siemens, Sony and Ericsson. Andrew obtained his PhD from Loughborough University in 2002 and joined Coventry University in 2006 where he is now a Professor of Electrochemical Deposition and leader of the Functional Materials Research Group. During his academic career he has led several externally funded projects including, most recently, the €6 million EU H2020 project MATUROLIFE. He has over 40 academic publications, is a named inventor on over 30 patents and has presented at more than 50 International conferences. Prof. Cobley is an evaluator for Innovate UK and the European Commission and is a Council Member for the Institute of Circuit Technology. He is a Chartered Chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
The MATUROLIFE project. A multi-disciplinary success story for the development of (e-textile enabled) assistive technology for older-adults.
The growth of the E-Textiles sector has inevitably led to interaction between disciplines such as materials science, electronic manufacturing, design and fashion. These disciplines have diverse methodologies and ‘languages’ and developing approaches to make them successfully collaborate is key to the success of E-Textiles. This is exactly the challenge (and opportunity) faced by the MATUROLIFE project (Metallisation of Textiles to make Urban Living for Older People more Independent and Fashionable). Led by Coventry University, this €6 million project involved collaboration between 20 partners across 9 European countries and was funded by the EU H2020 programme. The consortium included creative art and design, electrochemistry, materials science, electronic engineering and IoT represented through University partners, R&D specialists, SMEs as well as NGO’s representing older people.
This presentation will describe how MATUROLIFE has approached these challenges. It will describe how workshops held across the EU enabled co-creation with older adults to inform the design process and ensure that the wants, needs and requirements of older adults were at the heart of the design process. MATUROLIFE sought to utilise E-textiles to develop assistive products that are not only functionally beneficial to older adults but also are more discreet, desirable and aesthetically pleasing than traditional Assistive Technology (AT). Design concepts were created and the cross-disciplinary expertise of other partners was utilised to narrow down these concepts to enable the production of 3 assistive technology prototypes in furniture, footwear and clothing. From a materials science perspective, the development of a non-precious metal, printable catalyst for selective electroless copper deposition was key to producing the E-Textiles required for the prototypes.
The approaches used and lessons learnt during the MATUROLIFE project represents an excellent case study on how to blend the diverse expertise that is unavoidably required for the continued and successful development of E-Textiles.