Electricfoxy exhibits at ISWC 2011!

[gallery]Well, we made it to ISWC 2011 this week and had a great show! Thanks to Clint Zeagler for the design exhibit coordination, it went very smoothly. Jesse Graupmann, the brains and talented developer behind the custom Ping software, joined me in San Francisco for a few days of sunny city exploration, wearable technology demos and discussions about the field and where it's heading. During the design exhibit, Jesse and I demonstrated the Ping and Zip projects. For Ping, we did a live demo of the custom Ping application, which allows the garment to communicate with Facebook by performing natural gestures. Elizabeth Bales who presented a paper on how "Sensors meet Social" during the conference focuses her research on connecting people effectively through low maintenence mobile technologies. We had a great discussion on how we can communicate in subtle and expressive ways through wearable devices and interfaces such as Ping. She had some terrific feedback and ideas. Thanks Elizabeth!

One of the design exhibit show-stoppers was Sheridan Martin Small and Asta Roseway's project titled "The Printing Dress", which earned them the "Best Concept" award. Built out of paper, the dress enables the wearer to Tweet “thoughts” on to its fabric and wear them as public art. A gorgeous and thought-provoking project.

In general, taking the interface off the device and putting it onto the user through wearable technologies opens up a world of new types of experiences. I can't wait to see where our collective work takes us...

Photos taken by Jesse Graupmann. For more projects that were exhibited, GirlieMac has a nice collection of photos on flickr here.

modwells: Personal modules for wellness

[gallery] I've been working on another wearable technology project via Artefact. The project is focused on the topic of healthcare and takes an integrated approach to the design that combines technology garments, industrial design and software.  Here's an update on the project, the concept, and where I'm at with it, which is only scratching the surface of the many possibilities of this platform. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Healthcare today

Today there is a significant conversation around health, wellness and healthcare experiences and an equal amount of investment happening in the consumer arena. So, I put on my thinking cap and started asking a few questions around this topic:

  • How can we motivate people to live a healthier lifestyle?
  • How can we engage people more in preventative care, and how can we increase their health awareness?
  • How can we teach people how to stay healthy?
  • How can we make health data more accessible?
  • How can a personal health product adjust to the needs of different people? There are many systems which track a single set of data very well, but nothing that adapts to the personal needs of people and tracks multiple data combinations.
  • How can this be done in a way that inspires us to want to use it and wear it?

I've been dissecting these questions into bite-sized chunks and came up with the following platform solution (read about some of the research findings on the Artefact website here):

modwells: Personal modules for wellness

The modwells system is a platform that delivers a consumer-focused healthcare experience integrated into your daily life. It improves your physical and emotional health, and enhances your quality of life. The system respects the unique health and wellbeing needs of each user and accommodates those needs through a customizable solution that blurs the line between traditional medical products and consumer products. The system consists of:

  • Mods: a collection of input and output sensors that collect and assess health data, provide basic feedback and alerts.
  • Trestle: A trestle that presents data and interaction. The trestle also recharges the mods wirelessly.
  • Accessories: A collection of optional accessories that extend the mod’s capabilities. In this case, it is a body positioning garment.
  • A cross-platform software application: enables users to work with their personal health data, manage goals, share experiences with friends and connect with healthcare professionals

Continue reading on the artefact website ...

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Zip: Control your music

[gallery] Alas, a new electricfoxy project!

Zip is a garment that explores the aesthetics and interaction of wearable technology solutions that have built-in music controls. There are many products on the market today ranging from snowboard jackets to hoodies that allow you to connect your music player and control it using buttons integrated into the textiles. However, most of the solutions simply take the music player's hardware controls and replicate them on the sleeve or inside the lapel using eTextiles. Although still innovative, Zip investigates this further by:

Garment interactions Rather than replicating hardware controls into soft textiles, Zip also considers some of our basic garment mechanics and integrates the controls into the gestures that we already perform with our clothing.

Aesthetics Rather than simply attaching technology to clothing or hiding it in pockets, Zip considers the aesthetics of the technology, exposes it, and uses it as part of the overall styling of the garment.

Manufacturing We are starting to see more wearable technology enter the public's eye, yet producing tech garments is still one of the major road blockers due to high cost, lack of streamlined manufacturing processes and a variety of other variables. Zip is designed to be manufactured with both the pattern and ciruit design aimed for production.

Go to the project site to read all about it and watch the video.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this project!

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Project update: sensing spine movement

[gallery] I'm currently working on a project for a healthcare-related garment. The project consists of a set of garment accessories, each with their own functionality and sensing capabilities. I'm in the midst of prototyping one of them, which I thought I'd share. The garment will sense spine movement including slouch, arch and any imbalance in oblique positioning. Here's one of the early sensor explorations after a number of trials and tribulations with different materials to get the most accurate and washable sensor.

For more info on the project, there are a couple of postings available on the Artefact site: Understanding our need(s) for a new healthcare experience Envisioning a new healthcare experience

Stay tuned for more progress...

Modwells: Personal Modules for Wellness

[gallery] I'm currently working on a new project around the topic of healthcare and wellness. The project includes a variety of garments with integrated technology, which I'm currently designing. So stay tuned for an update on the progress. In the meantime, here's a short description:

Modwells is a new consumer-focused healthcare experience that is integrated into our daily lives and aimed to improve our physical and emotional health toward a better quality of life. It is modular, customizable, scalable, wearable and social.

The modwells system includes:

  • mods: a collection of sensors that collect and assess your health
  • trestle: a devices that allows you to view the data that you collect, recharge your pebbles and customize them
  • accessories: a collection of accessories and garments that allow you to extend the mod’s capabilities
  • application: allows you to manage your experience

Continue reading about Modwells here. Read about the initial research here.