Vision system gets stitched up

Engineers at Softwear Automation (Atlanta, GA, USA) have been awarded a contract worth $1.25 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA; Arlington, VA, USA) to develop a vision-based work cell capable of automatically sewing garments.

Jun 18th, 2012
Vision system gets stitched up
Vision system gets stitched up

Engineers at Softwear Automation (Atlanta, GA, USA) have been awarded a contract worth $1.25 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA; Arlington, VA, USA) to develop a vision-based work cell capable of automatically sewing garments.

The research effort to develop the system is being led by vision industry veteran Dr. Steve Dickerson, Professor Emeritus at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA, USA) and the founder of Modnar Corporation, DVT Corporation, CAMotion, RideCell and SoftWear Automation.

Dr. Dickerson believes that the development of such vision-based sewing machines could enable domestic manufacturers to make garments at a lower price than those currently imported from China, leading to a re-emergence of garment manufacturing in the US.

Because Softwear Automation is an early stage venture, few details aside from a concept for a fully-automated work cell are available on the company's web site.

What has been revealed so far is that, under the terms of the deal with DARPA, Softwear Automation is to develop a beta version of a sewing machine that will be capable of tracking the movement of fabric and moving the fabric under the needle of the machine on a stitch by stitch basis.

Along with his colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Dickerson did present some details of what such a system might look like at the 2010 International Symposium on Flexible Automation in Tokyo, Japan between July 12-14, 2010. Details of that system can be found here.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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