Wearable technology seems to be the latest big fashion trend. Last week, MIT held a fashion show featuring wearable technology. I really liked the designs of Alison Lewis, who created clothes that responded to touch. How lovely!
Designer: Alison Lewis
The Closer Pullovers are snuggly, huggably soft garments that respond to positive touch interactions. They inspire playful, real-time, real-space contact in order to show technology’s capacity to spread positive touch experiences between people.
More conventional and functional wearable technology includes:
belts for iPods (I don’t have an iPod yet… I asked Santa, but to no avail).
Wearable technology that was invented in 2002 such as this:
Xybernaut Corp.’s lightweight headmounted display and the KITTY, or Keyboard Independent Touch Typing, data input glove, hasn’t taken off, however.
Also invented in 2002 were these:
a jacket featuring a wearable MP3 player with a keyboard on the sleeve and earphones on the drawstrings. In addition, it has voice recognition, so if you don’t want to use the sleeve keypad to input instructions, you can simply tell your jacket what song you want to play.
which I think is wonderful - but is anybody actually wearing them? Here’s another version on the runway:
For those who want to always smell fresh and gorgeous, here’s a dress that has something called “reactive scent technology”.
(Err…???!!! No explanation provided about it unfortunately)
I found a (now defunct) magazine called HorizonZero (Digital Art and Culture) which has a 2004 special edition on wearable technology. There are some great articles in it. Here’s a little of the editorial:
Over the past few years, technological prostheses have gradually encroached upon the world of clothing by combining with the surfaces that protect and personalize our bodies. Communications and entertainment devices, such as cellular phones and mp3 players, have become new forms of adornment, connecting our inner world with our surroundings and profoundly altering our relationship with the world. These increasingly multifunctional and powerful accessories have contributed to a process of layering our personal boundaries with multiple strata of information and sensation while offering others the image of a hardware-equipped body.
In the field of smart clothes, the trend today is towards a subtler and more complex integration of technological elements - the concept of the “second skin” - while taking our needs and desires into account. This issue of HorizonZero highlights the many achievements in the field of “ready-to-wear” technology.
It seems that research into the potentials of wearable technology has been influenced by the military.
One important research direction involves interactive camouflage: uniforms that possess chameleon-like qualities and can change colour [www.sciencentral.com/articles/view.php3?article_id=218391833&language=english] when a soldier moves from a desert environment to an urban one. This exciting area of research will also lead to many applications for visually adaptive clothing that displays personal information, or changes according to mood, time of day, or other internal or external input.
What I like most of all is a critique of the functional approaches to wearable technology and the hunt for some “killer application” that can be incoporated into clothing to be the next big marketable thing. Joanna Bersowska says:
The real killer app for wearable computing is to convey personal identity information - this is called fashion, and it is mostly visual.
Yes, fashion as an identity marker. I like it.
I am enjoying the continuing media interest on Princess Mary. Today I learned that she not only has a new pup, but that it is suitably child-friendly, is a good reminder for the Princess of farming life in Tasmania (errr… she came from the CAPITAL CITY, not a farm, but I guess that doesn’t give the story enough emotional pull), and also that it is… smart, needs exercising so it doesn’t sit around the palace getting fat, and “needs to be very firmly trained to understand its place in the pecking order of the family” (does it sound like the writer of this article is writing analogously about Mary to you?).
The funniest part of the article though is about the name of the pup:
In Denmark there has been some speculation about the name Ziggy. Most people seem relieved Mary indulged her naming creativity on the dog and not the forthcoming baby.
Of course, if we read this source, ‘According to name experts of the Instituttet for Navneforskning (Institute for Name Research) of Copenhagen University the crown princely couple’s first baby will be a Christian or Margrethe.’ (Though others argue that a girl should be named Ingrid).
And, speaking of names, in this news report from Tasmanian (a few weeks old now), a racehorse owner in Tasmania has named his newest horse Princess Mary, ‘in recognition of his admiration for both the Tasmanian-born princess and his yearling’. Not only that, but very importantly,
“She is intelligent, attractive, gracious and well-bred - qualities which the princess also possesses.”
I do like the Country Road look she’s got going in this picture though. Very nice, casual, and sensible.