Despite widespread use in other industries, automation has made little progress in clothing manufacturing due to the difficulties robots face when trying to manipulate limp, flexible fabrics.
Sewbo avoids these hurdles by temporarily stiffening fabrics, allowing off-the-shelf industrial robots to easily build garments from rigid cloth, just as if they were working with sheet metal. The fabric panels can be easily moulded and welded before being permanently sewn together.
The water-soluble stiffener is removed at the end of the manufacturing process with a simple rinse in hot water, leaving a soft, fully assembled piece of clothing. The stiffener can then be recovered for reuse.