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A social networking garment
Ping is a garment that connects to your Facebook account wirelessly and from anywhere. It allows you to stay connected to your friends and groups of friends simply by performing natural gestures that are built into the mechanics of the garments we wear. Lift up a hood, tie a bow, zip, button, and simply move, bend and swing to ping your friends naturally and automatically. No phone, no laptop, no hardware. Simply go about your day, look good and stay connected.
The project investigates three important and emerging areas in wearable technology:
Connection to larger systems
The garment investigates ways to connect to larger software systems that can add more functionality and longevity to the experience while offering a new platform for communication and expression.
Rather than simply attaching technology to clothing, the project investigates garments that have electronics built directly into them resulting in a new aesthetic of form and behavior that become a core part of our expression, our identity, and our individuality.
Very few wearable technology projects successfully target consumers outside of the sports, medical and military fields. We are just not there yet. The project aims to generate market desirability for a wide variety of people to use in everyday life.
Communicate to your friends
Technology is integrated into the mechanics of the garment. For example, a sensor is entegrated into the hood allowing the natural gesture of lifting the hood and putting it back down to communicate to Facebook. Lifting up the hood automatically sends a message and updates your status. Putting the hood down sends another message. A Facebook application allows you to customize your messages, assign them to groups of friends and even manage many different types of messages based on where you are, who you're pinging, or what your mood is.
Get a ping back
Technology is integrated into the shoulder of the garment that provides a subtle "tapping" feeling. If your friends send you a comment or a message back, the garment will notify you by tapping you on the shoulder.
Create your own language
The Facebook application allows you to assign different tapping rythms to different groups of people so you can begin to create your own personalized feedback language that lets you know who is communicating to you and who is trying to connect.
The platform is applied to a hoodie wrap that has specific built-in mechanics. Imagine how it could be applied to other types of garments that have different types of built-in mechanisms. And imagine a collection of accessories that offer even more communication capability, i.e., 3D gesture-recognition technology or environmental sensing.
Electronics & technology platform
The concept prototype was built on the Arduino Lilypad platform and used a variety of sensors including flexible sensing and conductive threads that are flexible, sewable and washable. The wireless capability was built using the Lilypad Xbee.
Custom software was designed to allow for the Lilypad to interface with Facebook for two way communication.
The garment went through a variety of drafts, tests and design iterations in order to strike the right balance between aesthetics, functionality and technology integration. The photos show draping changes, material and color explorations.
Side panel patterning
The two side panels consist of geometric patterning made from the circuit's wiring that connects the sensors to the "brains" of the technology. So rather than hiding the electronics in pockets and compartments inside the garment, portions of the circuit were exposed and used as part of the aesthetics and graphic patterning on the outside. In this case, not only was the wiring critical to the functionality of the circuit, exposing it allowed to create the graphic patterning, which added to the overall aesthetics.
Clothing is a core part of our expression and offers ways for us to communicate who we are and the context in which we live. Technology enables a richer connection with people and our environment and offers a new platform for communication and expression.
By merging the intimacy of clothing with the empowerment of technology, electricfoxy garments strive to enhance our lives and offer a much richer language for self-expression.
As an outcome, rather than simply attaching technology to clothing, electricfoxy investigates garments that have electronics built directly into them resulting in a new aesthetic of form and behavior that become a core part of our expression, our identity, and our individuality.
For questions about this project, requests for photos and press materials, or to simply send feedback and comments on the project, please contact me at:
I would love to hear form you!
Alison Lewis @ Smart Fabrics Conference Miami
San Francisco Chronicle
Protect Your Bubble
Fashion Industry Network