Auburn University hosting event to discuss adapting in era of digital fabrication

Published: February 16, 2017
Updated: June 21, 2017
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Sarina Sun has good reason for helping organize a Digital Fabrication Symposium for Designers, Makers, Users and Educators Feb. 20-21 at Auburn University.

"There's an urgent need to bridge industry and academia, bringing them closer in this time of advanced technology emergence," said Sun, an assistant professor of apparel in the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences in Auburn's College of Human Sciences.

Her own research–the application of digital technology in wearable product design–involves such technologies as 3D printing and human-computer interaction and is considered interdisciplinary, engaging not only in apparel design, but also with areas of industrial/architecture design, materials engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical/computer engineering.

And yet, Sun said she is challenged in preparing future apparel designers for a world straying away from traditional manufacturing practices because "technology innovation is redefining many professions and reshaping our lifestyles today."

"Being able to understand fields beyond our own, collaborate with others and think creatively for the future are key in transitioning smoothly into the new era of making," she added. "Manufacturers must adapt to changes in the current supply chain, while educators integrate these new technologies into current curricula to prepare future talents and innovators."

The Department of Consumer and Design Sciences houses Auburn's interior design and apparel merchandising, design and production management programs. Sun and others in the department are encouraging business and industry representatives, as well as related faculty, scholars and students at Auburn and other areas to attend the event.

"A technology driven interdisciplinary approach is becoming more and more relevant," Sun said. "Technology such as 3D printing enables manufacturing complexity at a lower cost, zero lead time and streamlines many aspects of production planning in creating a more sustainable supply chain. At the same time, technology is expected to create more alternative business opportunities and platforms for designers, makers and users in the future."

"However, part of the challenge is embedded in the way various fields–industry and academia–have been traditionally established," she said. "The conversation between industry and academia at the symposium will provide the opportunity to further explore the gap in the current fashion industry and how we as scholars and educators can then synthesize the most appropriate ways to support the industry in the future of making."

For more information and to register, visit futureofmaking.auburn.edu. Auburn faculty and students may register at no charge.