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Sofia Guridi is designing a better world with smart textiles

Sofia Guridi, a doctoral student at Aalto University’s Bioinnovation Center, wants to introduce bio-based smart textiles that help improve people’s everyday life.
Sofia Guridi pictured in a lab setting.
Photo: Kristina Tsvetkova

When Sofia Guridi arrived in Finland from Chile three years ago, she had already gained work experience in the field after completing a bachelor’s degree in design. She was attracted to Finland by the country’s high level of education and beautiful nature.

‘I specialised in textiles in the Master’s Degree Programme of Contemporary Design at Aalto University and I also completed several New Media courses. At Aalto, I got to familiarise myself with an experimental approach to design. Since then, I have participated in various exhibitions with my work, and I enjoy people interacting with it,’ says Guridi.

In her Master of Arts thesis, Guridi worked in a team of researchers from Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Tampere. The research team developed bio-based smart textiles with integrated light-bearing cellulose waveguides.

‘It was great to work in a team that combined expertise in materials sciences and design. We all learned from each other, which was really inspiring.’

After graduating with a Master of Arts degree, Guridi started her doctoral studies at Aalto University’s Bioinnovation Center in summer 2022.

‘I like teaching in addition to research. In the doctoral programme, we tell other students about our research, which is a good opportunity to hear each other’s ideas and also learn from teaching. One day, I may become a teacher or a professor.’

Putting humanity first

In her doctoral dissertation, Guridi develops a computational fabric with integrated sensors for human body functions.

‘The goal is to create a new kind of fabric from bio-based functional fibres that collects and processes data and uses it to generate the desired interaction. This requires knowledge about textile structures, fibres and people as users and wearers of textiles.’

In addition to design and materials sciences, the Computational Fabric project has expertise in electronics and artificial intelligence. Guridi is interested in introducing new technologies into textiles that are important in the everyday life of people. However, in the integration of technology, humanity must take precedence.

In her doctoral studies at the Bioinnovation Center, Guridi is inspired by the cross-disciplinary nature of the studies and the students’ different backgrounds.

‘Our group of six includes two designers. Combining science and design and doing things together is a great way to develop technology. We all come from different countries, which also enriches our perspective on the research topics.’

Latin American perspectives to Aalto

When Guridi first arrived in Finland, she experienced a small-scale cultural shock.

‘In Latin American culture, you are always surrounded by friends and people. The first few months in Finland were a bit difficult, but I soon managed to create a large group of friends with whom we have had all kinds of fun, such as spending Midsummer at a summer cottage. I enjoy my life in Finland.’

At Aalto University, Guridi is involved with the S.U.R. Association, which brings together students from Latin America.

‘We want to share our own views on different issues at the university. We have come here to learn, but we also want to give something back. We spread awareness of Latin American culture and organise discussion events and encounters between people.’

Text: Marjukka Puolakka

Aalto University Bioinnovation Center

To achieve human wellbeing in planetary boundaries, we need new sustainable solutions to wisely use our natural resources. The Bioinnovation Center especially focuses on innovations in sustainable bio-based materials, with special focus on textiles and packaging.

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