New technology and processes are combining with traditional textiles to create a new generation of smarter, more technical products than ever before. Filmed with some of the world's most innovative textile companies, this programme explores the properties, characteristics and functions of these new materials and shows how they are being used to revolutionise the world around us.  Case studies include: geo-textiles, medical textiles, QTC, carbon fibre and interior design

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Endorsed by Edexcel for use with the Edexcel GCSE in Design and Technology: Textiles Technology

Recommended by AQA in their resources list for both their GCSE and GCE D&T Textiles specifications



"Textiles the Next Generation, is the BEST, CLEAREST and MOST USEFUL DVD I have ever come across. My year 13 have found it very helpful to see the things they have researched actually working, and they have also found out lots of things that are hard to find out about through general research. We’re using it right now as part of revision for A2 Unit 6!”

Janet Kidd,
Teacher of Textiles at The Duchess’s Community High School, Alnwick, Northumberland.

Smart Textiles and Technical Textiles, are becoming integrated into various aspects of our lives and the products that we use. In this DVD we are taken behind the scenes, at some of the most innovative textile companies in this field.

The areas of research, design and manufacture are explored and the key areas of testing are identified and discussed. The DVD showcases five companies, that cover 5 key areas of smart and technical textiles:

  • GeoTextiles

  • Carbon Fibres

  • Medical Textiles

  • Interactive Textiles

  • Textiles Lights

The content of the DVD is further supported by teachers notes and resource images, that compliment the main content on the DVD. The booklist and web pages give an introduction to some of the books and web resources that are currently available, and whilst not exhaustive, ensures you at least can get key books and web-links in this most diverse and quick moving area.

What adds to the content and helps provide context, are the discussions with various individuals from each of the companies. These discussions focus on careers and career pathways and give insight into the qualifications and training needed to be undertaken, when choosing a career in smart or technical textiles.

From the story of exploring how innovative embroidery techniques are contributing to new and dynamic approaches to surgery, to how traditional methods of wool manufacturing are used in the development of technical textiles, this DVD sets out clearly and concisely the why’s and wherefores’ of modern textiles.

As Smart and Technical textiles encompass both Design and Technology, and Science, there are a range of questions and activities that can be carried out. This cross curricular approach allows teachers and students to see how these two subject areas cross over, and allows the exploration of the science and the technology behind each of the products.

This DVD is must for your resource area, its content supports both the teaching and learning about smart textiles at KS3, and further supports the key content for understanding and knowledge about smart and technical textiles at 16+

Review in Just4Textiles, Autumn, 2008

Another extremely useful DVD from Pumpkin. This DVD supports the teaching of technical and smart textiles. It could be used selectively to astound younger textile students while vitally reinforcing textbook learning for A level students. I would have liked this visual information sometime ago while teaching the Edexcel specification for A level Textiles Technology. I hope exam boards are aware of the need for this type of resource early in their specification developments.

The DVD contains an introduction to technical and smart materials with a range of end uses, five industry based case studies, a career section, activities and links.

The introduction describes the fast moving developments in smart and technical materials highlighting how our perception of textiles can and will become wider than the immediate associations we are used to as future developments unfold. Highlighting how ‘ new technologies and cutting edge processes are combining with traditional textiles to create a new generation of smarter and more technical products than ever before’.

The five industry based case studies include:


Features Protection technology. Explains very clearly how polymer beads are processed into industrial standard ‘felt’ for civil engineering use. Familiar stages and terms of yarn manufacture will resonate as will the testing and quality control procedures. Geo composites and laminates demonstrate the end uses and growth of this area

Carbon Fibre

Air flight uses carbon fibre technology to discuss how the use of carbon fibre has grown in the last ten years. Composites are explained in terms of advantages over metallic structures. Carbon fibre manufacture is discussed as is industrial scale weaving demonstrating how the woven structure itself overcomes the brittleness of the fibre. Recognisable examples are given of end uses. Though very technical the principles are easy to understand of lightness and strength in the use of carbon fibre in either woven or composite layered structures.

Medical textiles


Explains how textile engineers use the same technology behind machine embroidery to develop surgical implants such as the Neodisc. Relating the benefits to improved quality of life for someone with a damaged spine will impress and is memorable. Familiar textile terms such as thread, density and stitch as well as polyester and acetate fibres enable understanding of this very different use of every day fibres and usually decorative processes.



Interactive textiles

David Lussey discusses his invention of QTC plastic and how it can be attached to textiles explaining how changes in the environment affect it’s resistance and therefore its end use for example space suits. Softswitch technology is shown and the vast range of current and future sensory possibilities through QTC in textiles and clothing.

Textile lights

Using fabric based research work carried out at Chelsea School of Art and Manchester University we are shown developments in the same technology used in Electro Luminescent Posters transferred into possible end uses in interiors.

Polyester is the fibre currently used in these new structures which are either woven or knitted to give a useable substrate, the pros and cons of fibres and fabric construction are discussed. The necessity and relevance of textiles fibres and processes such as printing for the progress of EL into future uses in the home and clothing is made clear.


This section revisits the people who have participated and communicated in the separate sections. Background details explain how they have arrived in their current positions and they describe parts of their job, ‘a typical day’

The ‘comprehensive teaching activities’ aim to link the video material to both the Design and Technology curricula.

Links are given to the companies involved

Review by Design and Technology Association, 2009

Suggested exam board specification links


GCSE  D&T, Textiles
GCE D&T Product Design (Textiles)



D&T, Textiles



GCSE D&T, Textiles


GCSE D&T, Textiles

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