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Designer Studies Cutting Edge of Fashion Via Luminous Material

Kim LyonsMonday, August 23, 2021

As part of a summer project in the HCII's Morphing Matter Lab, School of Design senior Ashley Burbano experimented with a soft elastomeric composite material that glows when mechanical force is applied to it.

Ashley Burbano has handled a variety of materials while designing costumes for fashion shows and other wearable artwork. But this summer, the senior studying design in the College of Fine Arts applied science to her sewing.

As part of a summer project in the Morphing Matter Lab in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, Burbano experimented with a soft elastomeric composite material that lights up when mechanical force is applied to it. Her research was funded through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Burbano explored using the glowing material to demonstrate how the coated fibers in fashion garments respond to movement and applied forces, like stretching in everyday wear, to understand potential future applications of the fabric.

"What drew me to the research specifically was the combination of science and fashion," Burbano said.

Read more about Burbano's fellowship on the CMU News site.

For More Information

Aaron Aupperlee | 412-268-9068 | aaupperlee@cmu.edu