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Market Overview

Computer-controlled embroidery algorithms allow for custom design and control properties of fabrics and woven materials. Embroidery changes the mechanical properties of frabrics, depending on the strength, orientation, and distribution of stitches. The production of fabrics with multiple, distinct properties traditionally requires the assembly of layers of different materials through seaming. As a result, production can only be done at a small scale. Clemson University researchers have developed a computational fabrication system that allows for the customization of material properties of fabrics at a larger scale. By utilizing a novel path planning algorithm, the system creates a stitch design that, when added to the fabric, changes the stiffness of the material based on the design needs. This customization can be used to produce custom seating, footwear, and smart clothing.


Computational fabrication and precise control of fabric tensile and mechanical properties

Technical Summary:

The use of computer-controlled embroidery allows for the customization of the tensile and material properties of fabrics. This technology utilizes a novel path planning algorithm that generates a stitching design that controls the textile’s local stiffness. The stitch planning problem used is comparable to the coverage planning in robotics, or the Travelling Salesmen problem, and creates a stitch layout using a series of variable stiffness embroidery blocks (EB). For a finer resolution, stiffness is controlled at the stich-level (SL) through density maps, path planning, and stitch density. Computational fabrication allows for the scalable production of customized fabrics for shoe insoles, bedding, wheelchairs, and clothing.


  • Novel path planning algorithm maps out a stitch design for the fabric 
  • Gradients and layers of stitches precisely alter the mechanical and tensile properties of the textile
  • Computational fabrication allows for textile customization at a larger scale than previously measured 

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Technology Overview

State of Development

Prototype system

Patent Type



Fiber and Films

Serial Number


CURF Reference No.



Dr. Victor Zordan

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