forster rohner textile innovations

Lace, lingerie, and the future of lighting electronics!

Forster Rohner AG is one of the leading companies for fashionable embroideries in Haute Couture, Ready to wear and Lingerie. As an independent business unit within the Forster Rohner Group, Forster Rohner Textile Innovations combines the experience of more than 100 years in the textile industry with competent knowledge in material science, textile technology and electrical engineering to offer the integration of electronic functionalities in textiles. Our core competencies are in the area of textile conductors, textile heating, textile sensors and textile lighting.

Since the lighting industry has basically given up on its own fundamental R+D, the best lighting innovations in the past couple decades have been coming from outside the industry (such as LEDs, digital communications, digital production, apps, etc.).  But I never would have guessed that the manufacturing processes used for sexy lingerie would offer such really profound innovative possibilities for architectural lighting.

Forster Rohner has teamed with several special project customers to produce LED media screens on flexible cloth; points of light on sheer curtains; even integrated heating elements and sensor elements.

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The new applications for architectural lighting are really fascinating, but to me it is the potential of low-cost, high-volume production processes — combined with materials that are potentially more eco-friendly than standard printed circuit boards — that is the future for the lighting industry.

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As a side note, San Francisco-based Switch Embassy is using Forster Rohner’s textiles to try once again the old 2006 Philips Lighting “Lumalive” concept (see this PDF for some history: Philips Research _ Lumalive) for their “connected T-shirt” and purse products: