Growing light

[gallery] I instantly fell in love with this project by Jordy Rooijakkers (TU/e Industrial Design) for Philips Lumiblade Creative Lab, which is a Growing Light that responds to touch. Caress the light or tap it gently and it reacts by subtly transforming into a new illuminating form.

In the wearable tech field, designers have been exploring this type of physical transformational behavior in garments. A few include the following. However, I have yet to see any explorations that incorporate movement AND light in this way.

More info at Images from

Sensoree explores therapeutic bio media and body architecture

[gallery]Sensoree is an art and technology design lab focused on body architecture and therapeutic created by experience designer Kristin Neidlinger and team. Through her work, she explores nervous systems that inspire body awareness, insight, and spontaneity. Her latest "artifacts" investigate proximity, intimacy, telepathy, intuition, and humor between human and machine. Here are a few of them:

GER: mood sweater The GER: Galvanic Extimacy Responder, mood sweater is an emotive display that is an externalized intimacy.

InflataCorset is a heart rate sensor-initiated inflatable corset. When the heartbeat reaches an excited, panic state, a wireless heart rate sensor triggers the air pump. Then, the corset inflates. The external pressure of the vest on the skin calms the nervous system and returns the heart back to a resting rate

FURVER fo.corset is an interactive hard shell corset with “emotionally volatile” fur that reacts to the proximity of those too near. Inspired by sea anemones, animated tentacles rise and bio-luminescent color intensifies to warn predators of personal space dimensions being invaded as well as protect the wearer.

Continue reading on Sensoree. Images from Sensoree.

Will Turnage shows off his "rocker" garment at #sxsw

[gallery] I'm currently at #sxsw interactive in Austin soaking in all the ideas, conversations and people. I was pleasantly surprised when R/GA's Will Turnage stood up in his talk with Chloe Gottlieb titled The Refrigerator Speaks: The Secret Language of Things to show off his awesomely smart "rocker" garment. To make a point about hacking into #smartthings, he created a smart shirt equipped with a Lilypad, Bluetooth, and lights that could be controlled by your cell phone. Punch in some commands and the lights would illuminate. He even added gestures. Tilt the phone right and the right side of the shirt would light up. Tilt left, and the left would light up. He then explained how he used Twitter's APIs to allow for the audience to tweet commands. Through the rest of the presentation, his shirt would light up as people tweeted about the presentation.

Turnage does a great job demonstrating how, as designers, we can take objects and services, augment them and combine them in interesting ways to create new and meaningful experiences. What are other ways to do this?

Check out this book they recommend referenced during their talk: Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design by Mike Kuniavsky.

Get a summary my sxsw visit so far on the Artefact blog.

Illuminating glass jewelry

German-born IT consultant and designer Marc Mann has created a line of gorgeous illuminating jewelry. According to the Hilde Leiss Gallery, "Exotic deep-sea creatures, early kaleidoscopes and gothic cathredal windows served as the inspirational source for the jeweLight collection."

Mann hides small LEDs inside the glass material, which results in a soft glow that brings out the aesthetics of its natural texture and characteristics. For power, the designer discretely integrates small coin cell batteries into the clasp or a small tag that is attached to the piece.

Jewelry as our home base

Mouna Andraos, in collaboration with Sonali Sridhar, has designed Address Necklace, which "is a handmade electronic jewelry piece. When you first acquire the pendant, you select a place that you consider to be your anchor – where you were born, your home, or perhaps the place you long to be. Once the jewelry is initialized, every time you wear the piece it displays how many kilometers you are from that location."

With our increasingly mobile and transient lives, the project helps to give a sense of home, or it helps us aspire to where we want to be. The necklace implementation is great since it allows you to take it will you everywhere no matter what you are wearing.

Luminescent raincoat

Multimedia designer and programmer Elise Co, designed Puddlejumper, a concept that brings light and color to our usually gray and rainy days. These dreary and dark days reflect our mood and the winter is the time of year when they're the most prevalent (for those of us not lucky enough to live in the tropics). Elise decided to solve that problem by creating a luminescent raincoat that glows in the rain. She hand-silkscreened electroluminescent lamps on the front of the jacket, which are wired to water sensors on the back and sleeve. When water hits the sensor, the lights glow and flicker.

Elise created this project in 2004 and there have been some advancements in light-up textiles since then. If designed today, she may replace the EL technology with textile LEDs or Lumalive technology that is available on the market today.