Stories: Down the Chain
Fung Fat Knitting - Hong Kong

Smart Knee Sleeve proves a winner for Cotton LEADS℠ Partner KnitWarm

Cotton LEADS℠ Partner Fung Fat Knitting Manufacturing Ltd has partnered with the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) to develop an award-winning therapeutic knee pad for people with knee injuries or chronic knee conditions.

The ‘Knee Sleeve’ – a collaboration between fashion designers, health professionals and the textile manufacturer – received a silver medal in the class of Clothing, Textiles, Machines and Accessories in the recent 46th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, Switzerland, followed by a Red Dot Award at Design Concept 2018. The Red Dot is a prestigious global design award that honors innovation, concept and vision.

Fung Fat’s Stanley Kwok Chi-hung spent two years developing KnitWarm℠, an ultra-soft thermal textile made of conductive yarn and natural fibre that incorporates a 5V2A battery for warming. The special breathable yarn is also able to be produced fully formed, with almost zero waste.

When Lam Yee Nee Elita, Head of Department of Fashion & Image Design of Hong Kong Design Institute/CMIT wanted to produce a therapeutic knee pad that was both functional and aesthetically attractive, they approached KnitWarm℠ to be their industrial partner, incorporating their patented thermal textile into the Knee Sleeve design.

She says, “Smart material applications are popular nowadays, especially in the fashion industry. We considered whether it was possible to combine smart materials and fashion to create attractive products that were also effective at easing pain.”

During the design phase, the team visited the KnitWarm℠ factory to gain a better understanding of the production processes involved. The resulting smart Knee Sleeve is lightweight, warm and stylish, and machine washable when the battery is removed.

Dr Jim Luk, an assistant professor and sports biomechanist at the Department of Sports and Recreation at the Higher Education Institure of Hong Kong (THEi), says the smart knee pads were subjected to real-life testing, and changes were incorporated into the design as a result of the testers’ perceptions of use, exercise, and the effect of the product at the time of the activity.

Stanley Kwok Chi-hung says he is extremely grateful to HKDI for the opportunity to partner with them and use the cutting-edge KnitWarm℠ textile in this academic initiative. Stanley’s own father suffers from knee pain so it is his hope that with this innovative product, his father will finally find some relief.

In addition to the HKDI Knee Sleeve, KnitWarm℠ has now developed a range of therapeutic products, including an Eye Mask, Wrist Wrap and Calf Sleeves.

KnitWarm℠ EyeMask promises to be a ground-breaking thermal spa product. With 3D knitting, the EyeMask is only 18g and 2mm thick. The main panel and its straps are made from one continuous piece. The extended straps are engineered to fit with the contours of the head. The advanced 3D design can prevent eye discomfort and offer the optimal state of darkness for quality sleep, making it an ideal travel companion.

Stanley says, “KnitWarm℠’s potential applications are very broad. We are open to any interesting collaboration opportunities in the future.”

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