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Smart fabrics and 3D printing among technologies to drive UK growth

Mon, 26 Nov 2012

They might sound like they’ve come straight out of a science fiction film, but ‘smart’ fabrics and 3D printing have been named on a list of 50 technologies that could generate billions for the UK economy in the future.

This is according to an updated ‘Technology and Innovation Futures’ report, available for download from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) website, based on interviews with 15 leading academics and 26 industry experts.

‘Smart’ fabrics see technology woven into fabrics allowing clothes to monitor the heart rate of a patient or the falls of an elderly wearer, while 3D printing, also known as additive layer manufacturing, “could offer people the chance to manufacture their own products”, according to BIS.

Another trend identified in the report is energy transition, which offers opportunities to businesses to move away from relying on fossil fuel energy sources to more renewable energy sourcers and hybrid energy systems.

Universities and science minister David Willetts says: “Looking ahead to the future, far beyond the usual political cycle, is the central plank of our industrial strategy. Providing industry with greater certainty helps companies make long-term investment decisions.

“By helping take the ground-breaking technologies of tomorrow through to market, we can carve out a competitive advantage for the UK and meet the challenges ahead.”

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