This New Heat-Gun-Wielding Robot Could Make Bespoke Clothing A Lot Cheaper

Custom clothing has long been associated with high prices, but recent technological advances may change this perception. MIT’s 4D knit dress is a prime example of a new approach to clothing design that could revolutionize the industry. Developed by MIT’s Self-Assembly Laboratory in collaboration with the Department of Commerce, the new suit can be customized to fit the wearer and is available exclusively in stores.

Although the dress itself is not 3D printed, the “4D” in its name refers to the 4D printing concept in which four dimensions are spontaneously assembled over time. All basic garments are made on the knitting machine using a special reactive yarn that becomes permanently shorter when heated above a certain temperature.

During shopping, clothes are placed on a mannequin, and a robotic arm equipped with a customized heat gun strategically heats the clothes according to the buyer’s size and style preferences. This allows the fabric to be packed in specific areas, creating features such as narrow pleats, pleats, or narrow waists. The distribution of the threads actively determines how the fabric shrinks, ensuring a perfect fit.

One of the most interesting aspects of this technology is its ability to reduce waste in the textile industry. By allowing clothing to be personalized after purchase, the need for different sizes and inventory can be reduced. Retailers can accommodate larger changes by offering a dress in a smaller size and a dress in a larger size.

Technology also offers great solutions to fashion consumers. If the user gets tired, they can return to the store and the bot will add new features to keep clothes stylish longer. 4D knitted garment is just the beginning. Other 4D knitted garments are currently under development and are expected to provide personalized, durable clothing for everyone in the future.

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