These were taken at the 2006 Siggraph Fashion Show in LA. Very cool indeed.
But these photos aren’t quite what this post is about. Well, I take that back…they actually are. This post is about cyber fashion and bio-integrated utilities. In particular, it’s about the researchers and developers that are working to promote advancements in wearable computing and expressive/responsive apparel.
One of the groups that has presented at the Siggraph in the past is the Banff New Media Institute. Via their Am-I-Able research project, they have put into works the creation of responsive or “smart” clothing and accessories that can be used in a variety of personal applications. Really, the breadth of their research and develop projects is really inspiring. Their work even extends to interior furnishings and urban network planning! They also are interested in BAN’s, a.k.a Body Area Networks, and the potential synching of “body data” or bio feedback to various communicative devices (e.g. cellphones, iPods, PDAs, PCs, etc).
You can find a detailed list of all of their projects at this nifty site: Banff Institute
Smart clothing can also be used to monitor one’s vital stats, as well as aid in social interactions by providing others with information regarding the wearer’s emotional status. The creation of fabrics outfitted with electrical conductivity, including electro-thermal textiles, have resulted in some interesting, expressive/responsive designs. The Wakita Lab at Keio University in Kanagawa has constructed a fairly awesome Wearable Synthesis ensemble that is based on the notion of clothing as modular, taking input from the wearer’s body temperature and pace. This information can then be translated through various layers of clothing to external displays (namely colored light displays). This piece appeared in the 2005 Siggraph show. These links, also on the Siggraph show, go into a bit more detail.
A brief discussion of smart clothing with a pretty diagram (view PDF for diagram):
Georgia Tech’s designs for the US Navy…goes into a discussion of wearable computing technologies.
The 2008 Greener Gadgets Design Competition saw the debut of Jim Mielke’s Digital Tattoo Interface. Imagine having a self-concealing cell-phone embedded in your skin that is naturally rechargeable! Just eat, and you’ve got bio-Wi-Fi!
This last video is probably the most blatant abuse of “smart” fashion….Not only does this dress/chair look silly, but it isn’t very practical. Although, it looks like it would make for a pretty good work-out….
It’s things like that that might give rise to scathing commentaries like these: http://tech.mit.edu/V116/N25/deskin.25o.html 😦
Anyway, enough of that…some light, playful sounds for now.. I’m really digging this Charanga Cakewalk song right now. It makes me want to go on safari in outer space….or like, in Australia.
Charanga Cakewalk – Melodica (clip should play automatically from here)
Micachu’s “Golden Phone” is nice too.