As the textile industry transforms itself to be more sustainable and circular, I propose the use of microdrones as digitised actuators for weaving and knitting fabric on-demand.
The global textile industry is in a state of staggered disruption: digital tools are rapidly changing some parts of the process, while other stages still rely on traditional machines and methods.
As our society rethinks the role of industrial supply chains, a completely digitized textile manufacturing life cycle has many benefits.
In this project I propose a radical rethinking of the traditional textile production process. Drones are capable of creating the complex interworked spatial paths that make up textile structures and can be endlessly reprogrammed and configured. On a microscale, drones coordinating as a swarm could create products at human-scale or possibly larger.
During lockdown, I decided to reimagine the potential of drones as modular machines for home life, as a sort of digital 3D assistant. Instead of drones moving a loom’s warp threads up and down, I have a microdrone lower a tea bag up and down into my mug and then fly back to deliver a sugar cube.
In this new context, while highlighting the range of digital ‘actuations’ possible with a drone at home, I also hope to challenge the narrow, often suspicious view with which many people regard drone technology.