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When we think of advanced, cutting-edge technological developments, knitting is definitely not one of the first things to spring to mind. However, a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently borrowed ideas from 3D printing technology to bring knitting into the 21st Century. They designed an algorithm that enables digital 3D designs to be converted into specific instructions that can be carried out by an automated knitting machine, effectively a form of 3D printing for fabric and knitted items. The robotics techniques involved are relatively straightforward, and the process could point the way forward for the industry.
We’ve reported previously on the groundbreaking work of Dutch designer Iris van Herpen, just one of a number of figures who have already brought 3D printing techniques into the world of textiles and fashion design. Even a 3D printer for knitwear isn’t an entirely novel idea, with London-based startup Kniterate pioneering an open-source digital knitting process some years ago. This latest innovation from computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University should prove to be a much more accessible and useful version of the technology, with an algorithm that can be adapted for a range of different knitting machines.
Algorithm - Transformation - Kinds - Meshes - Shapes
The algorithm is based on the transformation of the kinds of 3D meshes that are used to model 3D shapes into stitching instructions. It was developed with the constraints of particular knitting machines in mind, so that it can adapt to optimize the technology already available. It focuses on creating patterns that will work within the limits of the yarn hoops, hook-shaped needles, and parallel needle beds. It is still...
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