An artificial eye developed for Earth observation is now being employed to recognise colour variations in dyed fabrics: a critical element of textile production. This could significantly reduce the 160 million metres of dyed fabrics discarded annually in Europe with high environmental costs.
"Today most of Europes more than 40,000 textile companies rely on human quality control. Specialised personnel monitor fabrics as they are produced, but this is an expensive and technically not a very reliable method," says Stefano Carosio, a Project Manager at Italian company DAppolonia, part of ESAs Technology Transfer Programmes network.
Ideally textile manufacturers would prefer automated systems to control colours while producing the fabrics, but until now it has been impossible to manufacture a machine capable of even matching the capabilities of the human eye, which can recognise more than 30 000 different colours. Space technology developed for Earth observation has now come to the rescue, in the form of a spectrographic system developed by Finnish company SPECIM. Originally this was applied to remote sensing for checking the effects of agrochemicals used by farmers, to increase efficiency and reduce ecological damage. This system also proved capable of recognizing colour variation in textiles.
Pierre Brisson | alfa
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