Sep 102011
 

Welcome to Fashioning Circuits, a public Humanities project related to Fashion and Emerging Media.

Photo "electronic led light dress at the museum of science and industry in chicago" by Flickr user David Hilowitz

Photo “electronic led light dress at the museum of science and industry in chicago” by Flickr user David Hilowitz

Fashioning Circuits was launched in September 2011 as part of a series of independent studies in the graduate program in Emerging Media and Communication (EMAC) at the University of Texas, Dallas. The goal of the project is twofold: to explore the ways in which fashion and emerging media intersect and to work with community partners to introduce beginners to making and coding through wearable media. In Fashioning Circuits “fashion” functions not just as a noun to describe cultural trends, but also as a verb, “to fashion,” to indicate the experiential and problem based learning strategies of the project as well as the potential for a diverse range of students to fashion themselves as members of the publics and counterpublics of the future.

This blog is one of the ways in which the work of the project is articulated. The blog content includes

  • Coursework – resources from university courses, both independent study and formal classes.
  • Emerging Media – examples and analysis of blogs, social media, mobile applications, etc. as they pertain to fashion.
  • High Fashion – information and analysis of haute couture and runway iterations of wearable media.
  • History – historical impact of science, technology, and media on fashion.
  • Identity – analysis of the impact of fashion and emerging media on identity, including raced, classed, gendered, differently abled and sexualized bodies.
  • Project News – information about Fashioning Circuits activities and press coverage of the project
  • Representations – representations of fashion in media, including art, media, games, social avatars, etc.
  • Wearables – analysis of developments in wearable media, smart textiles, etc.
  • Workshop – descriptions of wearable media projects and detailed tutorials.

Aside from the blog archive, the editorial team is also active on Twitter. Search for the hashtag #fashioningcircuits to see all of the interesting resources we are finding and sharing.

If you would like to work with us on planning a community event, please contact kim.knight@utdallas.edu  If you would like to volunteer your time at one of our community events, please join our Facebook planning group at http://facebook.com/groups/fashioningcircuits

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May 092014
 
Historic Chalk Board and teaching stick

Historic Chalk Board and teaching stick

What could wearable technology do for teachers? As a former six year middle/ high school teacher and coach I can recall times where I was put in a place of fear from false and frivolous accusations from a student with nothing but my character and integrity to defend me. Through the struggle of vindication I thought that teachers should have a high tech defense mechanism to prevent malicious future events. A taboo issue that pops ups sporadically in nightly news, yet always shocking, are the inappropriate relationships between teachers and students. Not only would a wearable possibly diffuse situations of ‘my word against yours,’ but it would serve as an accountability resource when unknown offenders implant themselves within a school environment. I could only imagine the innocence that could be spared on account of social facilitation being monitored by a wearable.

In my own experience as a teacher, innovative technology was an expertise of mine. I would dream up something between google glass and Robocop. Not only for security and accountability, but I would think of review clips, resources for absent students, and even next year planning sessions all filed in video format. With products like Epiphany Eyewear and Memoto, technology is closer today rather than when I was watching

"Back in my day..."

“Back in my day…”

the Jetson’s in the 80s. However close we may be in the wearable world we still lack the progressive progress within the realm of privacy implications and policy. What could wearable technology do to the education system if all participants felt watched all the time? Would a Panoptic situation ensue? Who would have authority over the data? Would it really be a solution at the cost of the negatives in feeling watched all the time?

Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and Hartford, as well as Fort Worth, Tex.; Chesapeake, Va.; and Modesto, Calif.  would be a great point of reference to Daniel Gomezstart. They have begun issuing wearable video cameras as a part of the standard uniform for police. These serve the same purposes that I found lacking resources in my teaching career. Each department have set up policies for when the camera should be activated and who has access to the video. Overall, wearable technology has a huge contributions for individuals who work with the general population, especially teachers who sometimes are in the trenches against students, parents, and even administrators. Had I been wearing a form of wearable technology I could have been spared the embarrassment of all of my students writing a written statement of me breaking up a racially charged fight ‘rugby style’ with the ‘two boys under each arm’ escorting them to the office.  In my wearable dreams I would have turned to the distraction, activated the video and said “smile your on camera.”

 

Sources

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/business/wearable-video-cameras-for-police-officers.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.komonews.com/news/national/Questions-that-arise-when-placing-cameras-on-cops-250461101.html

 

 

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May 092014
 

I had a fit over a ONESIE that I skimmed over at the Internet of Things and had to check that it was not my biological clock! Confirming with my husband, I have validated that

Mimo Baby Monitor

Mimo Baby Monitor

this is just COOL! The Huffington Post, Today, CNBC, and SF Chronicle all agree that Mimo baby sleep monitor is what parents deserve to achieve “Relief from heavy, anxious feeling. Clear and accurate information. Waking refreshed and energized.” Not having any children myself, I had to look at the real problem that this wearable technology solves in research. SIDS and SUID are not just acronyms that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elaborate on their website. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome represents that accidents happen, Mimo featuresfamilies grieve and suffer the ultimate loss of infant life less than a year old.

Mimo seeks to monitor the “rest and well-being of their infant…by using multi-layer deposition of electrical conductors to produce durable sensors built into infant clothing. Parents can get data on activity levels, body position and breathing” available for IOS and Android.

Life saving information at the tips of parent's fingers

Life saving information at the tips of parent’s fingers

The pitch is for the “mommy brain” and including in rapid fire at the end of the front page video “daddy brain, baby-sitter brain, going back to work brain, generally any other type of care taker brain.” However, I think the technology could benefit the other end of the age spectrum too.  “40 million adults age 65 and over will be living alone in the U.S, Canada and Europe.” The Mimo does not require a Life Alert emergency response of falling and unable to get up. With Mimo’s respiration, temperature, movement and body position sensors it seems that the baby market is a frontier to expand into other age categories too. This could be my inner desire to purchase one for my own elderly family member, but not ready for the full Mimo Baby Monitor Starter kit purchase for myself.

Sources-

Mimo

http://mimobaby.com/

https://www.dragoninnovation.com/projects/19-mimo

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May 082014
 

In my first proposal, I was so sure that my project was going to start some type of movement. I was overly ambitious and I could truly say that this project has humbled me with the understanding that Rome was not built in a day.

With my project, I hope to bring more awareness to emotional abuse. One of the challenges of identifying emotional abuse is that there is no physical evidence. When I first started planning my project, my focus was on how to empower the victim of emotional abuse. I thought that having something that can identify emotional abuse would be helpful to the victim.

My first thought was to create a cuff that would light LEDs in response to certain words that an emotional abuser would normally use to abuse the victim. That would have included coding that was beyond my understanding, so I had to simplify. This did began a path on deciding on what would be my sensor. I had worked before with LEDs in a previous project so I felt comfortable with using them as my actuators. Now, I must inform you that I had never use coding or didn’t even have clue what an audruino lily pad was before I took this class. So of course my anxiety level was at the max. I did however felt a little confident in making the product because I have sewing experience.  But it only took me so far.

I know I wanted to play with audio because emotional abuse is verbal so I had to figure out how I was going to get information from a sensor to the LEDs. That’s when the USB lily pad came into effect. We had already played with it in class so I felt a little at ease, and it was on less thing to order. So the supply list was due, and for some reason I thought the LEDs that came with our kit was suffice. By this time I still did not decide on what would be my sensor. I found an audruino recorder online but I still did not know what route I wanted to take this project. After a discussion with professor Knight, I committed to a theme for my project. Within this discussion, I also was able to identify my sensor. Fortunately, a student from a previous class allowed me to see what she had used for a similar project that involved audio. We used a recorder that also measure sound levels and with this I was then able to output through the Lily pad to the LEDs. Perfect right?

I decided to use my project for media art. I was going to construct a mask that would light up to a video of an abuser verbally abusing a victim. I wanted to show a visual effect in spite of the lack of evidence to promote awareness. Now a mask would involve contours of the face so the conductive thread seem ideal for one of my tools in putting all of this together. While  my recorder was being shipped to me, I was brainstorming on how to design the pattern of  the LEDs that will be sewn on the mask. I only knew about serial patterns due to a previous project. I’ll tell you later about this challenge.  The recorder came in the mail and I was so excited to start playing with it.  Now how will this be possible without sewing everything on the final product, the handy dandy gator clips. They saved my life. I was able to connect everything and practice coding without making a permanent mistake.

Okay next challenge, the recorder was too small to keep the gators on so it was causing a short. This resulted in a crash course in soldering. I learned to solder jumpers to my recorder and then I was able to connect to the lily pad and LEDs by using connecting wires which come into play later in another challenge. Okay so I’m back in business.

Coding. What can I say about this subject? Please read everything that professor Knight suggests. I had to crammed pages and pages of literature while I was coding. I mean that’s how I learn ( hands on) but it would had been helpful to have read everything while we had our workshops. I can’t stressed that enough especially if you are new to any of this. I learned my lesson. Fortunately, after reading everything, I was able to figure out that the code that came with the recorder was something I can build on. One thing I encountered was that I would  have my GND, VVC, and SPL not connected to the right output, so if you see that something is not working(flashing) correctly double check the wiring. Once this was pointed out I was able to connect. Another problem I encountered was that my board was not selected correctly in audruino so if there is something funny showing up in your serial monitor double check the bottom of the audruino sketch pad. This was also pointed out to me by the same student assistant. God Bless him.

With the help of his guidance, I was able to get the coding in a day, but then something else happened. Remember I pointed out that I only knew about serial patterns, well I learned about parallel first hand. My LEDs’ charge was not strong enough to carry through in serial so I had to go parallel. So how was this going to be a possible pattern and on a mask?  I made a decision to only make my neck band that was going to housed all the equipment my only tech functional piece.  Now it’s time to construct.

I learned to strip my wires because I used jumper wires to connect my recorder to my lily pad. This is where the wires come in. There was no way I would be able to connect all my LEDs to one GND. I resorted to radio shack again and invested in a stripper and a LED strip. The best investment was the stripper. My whole aesthetic change to accommodate the design. I decided to “wear the Guts out”. I incorporated the equipment to the design. My wiring draped like chiffon!  I used tacking to keep the wires in place.  The end results was awesome. I was able to connect at least three LEDs to my GND by using the wires I stripped. Since I decided to use the equipment as part of the design I was able to keep everything in range and the neck band wearable. I kept my design somewhat the same and I now like the new aesthetic. My coding works and its wearable and I can return the $30 LED strip to Radio Shack.

This was a challenging journey. This experience was awakening and I have  a new profound respect for e-textiles. I learned a lot through trial and error and my product is functional. I hope that it does do what I intended it to do, overall the journey was worth it. Hopefully this will help with giving a visual effect to emotional abuse.

 

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May 082014
 
Stop Telling Women to Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

Stop Telling Women to Smile is the public art project addressing gender based street harassment by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

 

When saying, “I’m not interested,” is no longer a clear enough signal to leave someone alone. 

In our modern society, it is increasingly difficult for many people to communicate in a direct manner without experiencing apprehension or anxiety. These people may not feel comfortable with social interaction, which may cause them issues with being direct or upfront towards others.  This awkwardness can sometimes lead to uncomfortablethreatening,  or even violent situations. For many people, technology can function as a “screen” that allows them to opt out of real-life, face-to-face interactions. When communicating online, users can set statuses on instant messaging systems (“Do Not Disturb”, “Available”, “Away”) to indicate their availability or willingness to chat.  But what happens to them when they do not have a screen to hide behind and they need help communicating their status to others? If there was an easy passive way for people to clearly communicate their receptiveness to outside interaction, it could potentially prevent miscommunication, confrontational situations, and unwanted advances.  Enter the Instant Status Band. Continue reading »

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May 082014
 

I have always have a fascination with the “space world”. Being a fashion student, I could only dream to be so  avant garde like Jean Paul Gautier in  his creations for the Fifth element. While working with LEDs this semester, I thought to myself wouldn’t it be cool to have tiny LEDs at the tip of your eyelashes.  It would be something you will see in a Sci-Fi movie. So I goggled to see if such a product exist. I came across Soomi Park’s video. Here, Park uses LED’s to emphasize on the size of the eye.  What was so cool about the technology part of the lashes is that they came with sensors. You can turn the lashes on and off by tilting your head. The video itself is kind of “spacey”. I didn’t even know that this existed.  I think the whole concept is cool but they are a little too bulky for me. They also come with added materials that are attached to your ear which maybe the sensors.  I could see this taking off for a while especially within the Music Video world.

monster LED

LED pojken

 

 

I came across another LED eyelash project pojken. This project was use for costuming.  Here the artist uses smaller LEDs. (SMDs). These were made to wear on the top of the eyelid. She also used soldering to help keep them together.   This started a journey for me  to see if what I wanted existed. I found a whole  eyelash design world. There are many different designs to artistically express yourself. I discovered that there are UV eyelashes in market now.

UV Eyelashes

UV eyelashes

 

 

 

I would like to design or help to find LEDs small enough to put at the tip of eyelashes to where they would appear to be little drops of color liquid at the end of the eyelash. Technically I don’t think a LED exist that can be so small and then would the LEDs be on all the time. Is there a light sensor small enough to communicate to the LEDs when to shut down and when to come on? It would bring your eyes to a whole other level, when it comes to make-up and flirting, don’t you think?

CC:

” Make wearable LED eyelashes” by pojken: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-wearable-LED-eyelashes/

Soomi Park Video: http://www.ecouterre.com/led-eyelashes-designed-to-brighten-enlarge-eyes/led-eyelashes-2/

UV eyelashes: http://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/funky-eyelash-designs

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May 082014
 

 

E- make-up?

 

As I was searching for information about 3d printing I ran across this :  The Mink printer

Ladies..we don’t have to run to the store to get make up. We will now be able to make your own make up straight from your printer. A Harvard student by the name of   Ms.  Choi, has develop a printer that will print out any shade of color. Color that is wearable due to 3d printing. Her argument is that manufactures are selling a lot “bullshit”. She believes that women should be able to establish what beauty is to themselves and the mink printer will help expand this idea. According to Choi,  mass manufactures only sell make up that are high volume which limits the selection for women. If a women would want a niche make up brand then you have to go to a high priced vendor such as Sephora which also limits the choices for women. This also drives the prices of niche colors up to where it would be considered prestige to even buy that particular make up.     Her target audience are girls ranging from ages 13-21 because she wants to develop a new culture for buying make up. She believes that this age group is way beyond ready to print their own make-up. It would be just be in their nature to click and print.

The hardware itself is  just the same as a regular inkjet printer. You would not have to buy any special software to make the make- up.  You would have to buy the program which is gracemink.com.   You actually will be able to pick a picture, take the color hex code from a color picker and print from any software  You have to buy ink which is FDA approved. In the demo she literally pulled an eye shadow from a printer.  She is basically selling the idea of providing your own pigment to our own raw materials to make your own make-up.

The concept appears to be doable but it brings a lot of questions to mind. For example, the raw materials, where will a thirteen year old girl get these materials? The ink in the printer is assumed to be FDA approved but with added functional attributes will the make -up cause allergies or skin conditions?

I think if it is not marketed correctly, it can be just another “easy bake oven” put on the side that doesn’t decompose. I don’t know what approach to use that would make this product become a household name that everyone would use every day. I do agree with Ms. Choi that manufacturers and niche markets do try to possess the control of the make- up market. It would be a way to empower our young and older women but it would it just be just another revolutionary fad? We experienced the same thing with Green became the new black. It would be kind of difficult to convince a single mom that has to rely on Wally world’s sale on Cover girl and Revlon, to invest in a three hundred dollar machine in which you will still have to buy additional supplies to make your own make up.

Convenience is another reason that may be positive or a negative. Making your own make-up at home seems to be ideal but what if you don’t have the additional supplies and the time how would that work. I do have to say I was impress when I saw the demo, she made eye shadow in less than six minutes. But really who has the time to print anything now, isn’t that  why we now have e-coupons now.

I love the fact that Ms. Choi wants to disrupt the whole make-up world.  Any idea that brings about change does deserve a moment of consideration.  I don’t wear make-up on a daily basis but I have spent a few more dollars on products that Ms. Choi would consider prestige. Well, it’s because it makes me feel pretty… maybe Ms. Choi’s Mink printer will change how we see beauty.

CC: video: http://youtu.be/cBZHFUQiP8Q

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May 062014
 
Facebook+Oculus Rift Photo Illustration: Jason Foral

What Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR means – Photo Illustration: Jason Foral

We previously reported on virtual reality hardware company Oculus VR before its $2 billion acquisition by Facebook was announced on March 25. With the Federal Trade Commission approving the acquisition in late April and the impending deal closure, many people are wondering why the biggest social media website acquired a virtual reality headset developer and what this means for their social media experience.

Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.” – Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an official press release, 3.25.2014

On the surface, the Oculus acquisition is more confusing than Facebook’s other recent acquisition of mobile message application WhatsApp. Oculus VR positioned itself in the marketplace as an innovative 3D gaming headset developer and Facebook was hardly known as a hub of gaming activity outside of numerous casual games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, games that any layperson would know requires no fancy immersive VR headset. Instead, Facebook is looking beyond gaming and sees virtual reality technology as a compelling candidate for the next transformative social and communications platform. This technology has broad potential applications in many other industry verticals, including media and entertainment, and education. Continue reading »

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Apr 222014
 

My project concept was to create a device that would allow people suffering an anxiety attack to alert people around them of their impending attack.  The device checks a wearer’s pulse and alerts those around the person when the pulse increases.  I know this sounds oddly familiar.  If you’ve ever been on a treadmill you know that there are heart rate monitors that will do this for people working out.  My device isn’t much different than a heart rate device.  The difference is the intent of the device.  My device is meant to address issues in the mental health arena.  I’ve lived with people who had anxiety attacks and there is no way to know the person is suffering unless they tell you.  The idea behind my device is to give the person wearing it and the people around them to understand what is happening.

When I started this project I had anxiety.  I am not adept at sewing or coding.  The first thing I had to decide was what I was going to create the device on.  I decided a cuff or bracelet would work, but I decided to use a sleeve.  You can buy sleeves at REI.  I owned workout sleeves.  They are exactly as they sound they are sleeves without shirts.  They fit by using elastic on the openings to grip the skin of the wearer.  The sleeves cost roughly $25.

Once I got the sleeves it was time for me to layout how I wanted the LilyPad and LED lights would be set.  I bought the Sparkfun stickers.  I laid them on my sleeve to configure everything.

LilyPad stickers laid out on a black sleeve

LilyPad sticker with LED lights planned out

I originally bought gum drop looking LED lights, but they didn’t work for what I was doing.  I did want the person wearing the device to alert those around them that they were having a panic attack, but I didn’t want the sleeve to alert everyone in the room.  The gum drop LED lights were to obvious for my project.  I chose to use the LED lights that came with the Protosnap and the one extra LED light that comes with the LilyPad.

 

Once I configured my components I was ready to paste my parts down on the sleeve.  I used fabric glue to paste the LilyPad and lights down.  I left them on their for a day before I started working again.  I am not a good or confident seamstress.  I realized I needed to sew a ton of components and was looking to create a project that would have very little sewing.  So I hopped in my trusty car and drove to my local Radio Shack.  The very nice man showed me two different Electrically Conductive Paint pens.  I chose the Bare Paint pen http://www.bareconductive.com/

Bare paint conductive pen in case

Bare paint I used to “sew” my components together

Electric Paint Pen with Conductive Ink is a pen applicator full of conductive paint.You can paint on all different surfaces to create a circuit, although you shouldn’t try it on your skin.  The pen ink will conduct electricity. I also bought because once I painted my original circuit I could paint over the original paint to blend into surfaces or add other elements to the circuit.  This pen saved me so much sewing time, although I am grateful for it I don’t think it was the right thing for me.  At the time of this writing I haven’t hooked up my pulse sensor.  Prior to hooking up the sensor I had to pain my circuit.  The first time I did it I made the lines too thin and they broke off immediately.  The second time I used the pen I put my hand in the sleeve and the lines broke again.  I tried to keep the sleeve on my arm and draw the lines, but once again the lines broke.  Finally, I decided that since my sleeve is a prototype I wasn’t going to put my hand in it and I laid down thick lines between the LilyPad and the LED lights.

In class today my paint snapped so I have to start over.  Also, I figured out that my pulse sensor is made as a plug and play for the Arduino UNO – yikes!  Needless to say today was a setback.  I removed all the paint from the sleeve and my instructor, Kim Knight, gave me wire glue to use.  I think it functions the same as the paint, but it may be more durable on bendable fabrics.  I plan to connect my Red, Purple and Black wire tonight and let them dry overnight.

I let the paint dry overnight and I couldn’t get any of my LEDs to light so I set everything together with Alligator clips.  Now, the LEDs work, the pulse sensor lights up now I just need to get the code right and I will be on my way.  This thing will not be beautiful, but I hope it works.

I finally got the code to work… and guess what?  It worked!  AHHHHHHHHH!  There goes my anxiety, but now if I ever need to check it, I have a my own homemade device :)

Image of a sleeve with alligator clips attached tio LilyPad and LEDs and pule sensor

Alligator clips attach my project together

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