Crafting wearables: touchable light

Textielmuseum Tilburg and designers Kristi KuuskMartijn ten Bhömer, and Paula Kassenaar have been exploring "crafted wearables", one of which is a touch sensitive illuminated garment called Tender. "The world of high-fashion is home to many kinds of unique wearable technologies, but one thing the fashionistas usually have in common is an aversion to touch. After all, the garments are usually one-of-a-kind and were placed on the gaunt model via a combination of safety pins and a lot of luck. In short, if you break it you buy it. So it comes as quite a relief to see one tech-heavy garment coming down the pike that not only encourages touch, it actually requires it.

[This] touch-sensitive illuminated blouse/garment thingie that is going to quite literally brighten your day(sorry.) Tender features conductive surfaces that are beautifully knit and integrated into the garment. Wherever you place hour hand while wearing it a subtle light follows. It’s like your whole body becomes a flashlight of sorts. This is perfect for ladies who like to remain on the cutting edge of fashion, or those who are just afraid of the dark." Continue reading on

GPS shoes inspired by Wizard of Oz

Dominic Wilcox teamed up with interactive arts and technology expert Becky Stewart and Northamptonshire shoe maker Stamp Shoes to create these GPS shoes inspired by the Wizard of Oz. In order to create the fully functioning prototype, Wilcox worked with interactive arts and technology expert Becky Stewart and local Northampton shoe maker Stamp Shoes. The project was commissioned by Global Footprint, a Northamptonshire-based visual arts and living heritage program and is currently on display at Dominic Wilcox's solo exhibition at KK Outlet, 42 Hoxton Square, London, until the 26th September. One of the things that's working with this project (in addition to the clever conceptual twist) is the seamless blend between technology and craftsmanship. Wilcox uses traditional shoemaking techniques and materials that give the footwear a sense of nostalgia with a contemporary twist. It's a good example of making the technology discreet by integrating it directly into the aesthetics and styling. This fashionability also reduces the dork-factor found in a lot of wearable concepts out there these days. Keep moving us forward Wilcox!

Here's more on Wilcox' approach:

For more information, go to Dominic Wilcox or Gizmag.





LittleBits teaches tech to young girls

I am a huge fan of any organization, individual, or product that encourages young girls to learn about technology in any way, shape or form. Ayah Bdeir, founder of LittleBits, is doing just that in a not-so-little way. Her product is designed to introduce kids and young girls to the fundamentals of basic electronics. Each littleBit is a pre-assembled, pre-engineered electronic module that can be easily snapped together to create an interactive circuit. Bdeir describes them as electronic LEGOS and her vision is that her product becomes just as ubiquitous in everyday households. As for her audience? According to Bdeir, "women are drastically under-represented in math and science in the United States. A recent Commerce Department study found that women hold only 25% of jobs in science, math, technology and engineering (or STEM) but make up 48% of the U.S. workforce." From the looks of it, LittleBits does a nice job making technology fun, inspiring and easy -- eliminating any intimidation-factor. So, come on kids, dive in and make some wearables!

Keep up the great work Bdeir!

For more information, her hip SoHo company was aired yesterday on CNN's What's Next. Watch the video here. Image source.


adidas megalizer dj-mixing footwear

[gallery] Paris-based "creative technologist" Didier Brun is developing a fantastic project for adidas to help promote the release of their sneaker collection MEGA. The project includes embedded sensors in the line of footwear that allow you to create your own beat depending on how you tap the shoes. The result is a playful composition of dance and music. Watch the video for a demonstration. Truly fantastic.

More info here.

Hannah Perner-Wilson's beautiful paper speakers

[gallery]Hannah Perner-Wilson of Plusea has been exploring some amazingly beautiful sensors at MIT's media lab that explore paper and ink-jet printed electronics. I particularly love these paper speakers and how she is challenging the aesthetics of the circuit patterning:

"Inspired by Marcelo Coehlo’s paper speaker and Vincent Leclerc’s Accouphene textile speaker, these paper and fabric speakers are made by running 5-9V amplified sound signal through a very conductive coil in close proximity to a magnet. Unlike most speakers that have the wire coil wrapped cylindrically and placed around the magnet, here the coil is in the plane and directly adhered to the membrane that moves the air creating sound." Continue reading ...

An incredible wearable technology resource list

Digital media designer-artist, theorist and curator Valérie Lamontagne has an incredible wearable technology resources page that lists the who's who and who's upcoming in the wearable technology and eTextile field. She has even grouped designers and organizations into very interesting categories such as "Context as Prerequisite", "The Garment as Amplifier of Fantasy", and "Material Witness". For anyone interested in this field, this is definitely one for delicious. Thank you Valérie!

Visit her resource page.