Video 1: “Cardiac Rehab Patient Monitoring Jacke” Final Project Video
By: Ariana Berdy
Imprint Energy is a company that was started by Christine Ho following her graduate studies at the University of California, Berkley. Collaborating with a researcher in Japan, Ho produced 3D printed zinc batteries. Now, her work has evolved. Her company, Imprint Energy, produces flexible printed zinc batteries. Unlike the design of previous and standard lithium batteries, Imprint Energy’s zinc batteries are safe, flexible, and smaller than the preceding design.
Most typical batteries are made using lithium as the primary charging component. However, lithium is highly reactive and very unstable. Primarily, lithium is oxygen-sensitive. In order for workers to handle it safely, protective equipment is required. To adequately seal the reactive lithium requires many protective layers. The result is a rigid, bulky, and limiting battery design.
While zinc has been used in batteries for years it was not possible to make zinc batteries rechargeable. In previous batteries, zinc was combined with a liquid electrolyte. Over time this combination produced dendrites, which are tiny fibers that grow and prevent the charging reaction from taking place. As a part of her graduate studies, Ho developed a solid polymer electrolyte that avoided dendrites. She combined this new polymer with zinc to create Imprint Energy’s battery. Because of zinc’s environmental stability, Imprint Energy’s batteries do not require heavy and rigid insulation. Additionally they are cheaper to manufacture and do not require workers to wear protective equipment.
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 uncomfortable, threatening, 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.
One of the exciting aims I can think of for this rising of fusion of technology and fashion is the social solutions it can provide to world. Recently one of hip-hop’s fashion Icons, Kanye West became a topic of many conversations due to his wearing of masks during his Yeezus tour. The masks were designed by Maison Martin Margiela. The masks made their way to the couture runway in the fall of 2013. I was attracted to the idea of wearing a mask as a form of expression through apparel after the current topic. Throughout history, I believe the “Bourgeoisie” has played with this idea of concealed identity especially within in a taboo setting, so therefore I can understand how this form of expression can make it to the world of couture. The wearing of masks can be interpreted in so many ways, but what if the reason for wearing masks became more of a necessity rather than an expression?
In China, the air pollution has become so horrific that “when air is so bad, people who don’t wear masks are like ET”, as expressed in the South China Morning Post. In Fashion-forward face masks a big hit in China amid soaring air pollution, Wu Nan expressed the uprising of face masks as an effect to protect China’s citizens from the air pollution. What was interesting to me is that the article was posted under the Health section in the SCMP. The use of face masks have become so common that there has been a fashion dynamic added to this necessity. As with anything, the fashion market has found its way to establish its presence amongst consumers.
It would just be natural that enthusiastic fashion technologists would embark on this challenge. In My Health Beijing, an article was written in comparing two air pollution face masks. . In Respro Vs. Totobobo: Which Mask Works Better For Air Pollution? Dr. Richard described details about Respro masks. It contains filters for any urban pollution. The mask like others in the market helps to clean air while you breathe. Aesthetically, like its challengers, it has an industrial but a slight sleekness to its appearance.
In more recent articles, such as AirWaves :Face Mask Filters Pollution, Crowdsources Air-Quality Data in ecouterre , a prototype of a new air pollution mask is featured. Author, Bridgette Meinhold, mentioned that the company Frog Design which one of its focuses is on the future of wearable technology, has created a mask that will help improve data monitoring. The Airwaves is a smart device that will monitor air quality in real time and then share its data to everyone who would have its mobile app. This would serve as a security to people from harmful environments while data collecting for the country. The appearance of the device is a bit more conspicuous on the technological aspect but it comes with the added equipment. I think this maybe one of the areas Frog Design may try to change within their product design given that the other masks on the market are not as bulky but with the added resource consumers might be a little more forgiving.
The exciting part of this innovative piece of garment is that its original development was made for the intent to help people breathe in China. It then progressed to a more technical advance device with added filters. What is a little alarming is how it is becoming another “smart” device. It makes me wonder who is so data driven and how much will this device cost. In this scenario, a social problem was presented, to where its effects were dangerous to all partakers of society. As a result of this problem a common wearable product, such as a face mask was in use and then turned to a fashion garment. As a natural effect in consumerism, the switch to a variety of choices of masks was not unusual in today’s market. The need to produce filters is also, I believe a logical step forward, but with the added equipment the cost of the product has increased. So now, I see a division of accessibility. For the general population there is a mask provided and for the ones with a little more disposable income there is also a product for them to use. Now with the use of smartphones, another product has been designed to suit consumers with the possession of smart devices which may have a different income than that of the first face masks’ consumers. The price of a generic face mask provided by 3M is $12.71 Box/20 to compare to a filtered mask such as the Respro for $59.95 plus the cost of filters $29.95 for two and that is just for a certain kind of air pollution. You would have to buy more for each environment.
Given the knowledge of China’s economic structure , it would appear that the filtered masks will not be used by everyone, but doesn’t everyone have the right to breathe the same quality of air? Now with this new smart device in progress, it brings about another question, doesn’t everyone have the right to know where the hazardous air pollution is located in their own country? I mean what if a person cannot afford a smart phone, how would that individual be informed? Maybe my thinking is a bit extreme because of with the prices of smartphones today, everyone should have one…right? But we are talking about China not America, a totally different economic situation…right? Who really gets to enjoy this new innovative fusion of fashion and technology?
- Kanye West:http://www.thisis50.com/profiles/blogs/all-the-masks-kanye-wore-yeezus-kick-off
- 3M mask:http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2013/04/whered-you-get-that-mask/3m_mask/
If you are in class, teaching a class, or in a business meeting, everyone has had the awkward experience off their phone going off at the wrong times. My project doesn’t make people think about what’s changing or trending. It adds the affordance of having another option to receiving a text or phone call other than ring tone, vibrate, or silent. A simple pattern would light up if are getting a phone call and flashing light if have received a text. You could also remove the board and light and place into a different sleeve allowing a person to choose what design they want to wear on any given day.
My project idea was very simple. I wanted to make a wrist cuff that would light up a certain way based on if you received a text or getting a call. However, getting this simple idea to work was not easy at all. My first problem began with an incompatible board. I did not realize it incompatible until after I spent several hours, with the help of Harrison, soldering the pins to the Bluetooth module thinking that was the problem. Once I got that out of the way I was given a loner board and battery source. Because of the new components, my idea of it being switchable sleeves was gone. The new component made the wrist cuff bulky. After finally being able to connect to the Bluetooth, I ran into the problem of not finding any program that would allow the arduino and android talk to each other. I went through dozen of programs. Some had the features I needed to get the task done but it didn’t have the option to talk over Bluetooth. Other were only able to connect to the Bluetooth and that was about it. I even tried to go a roundabout way by having one program perform the task I needed to get done. Then try writing a code that would turn on the lights when the Bluetooth was on. Which didn’t work because either I didn’t write the correct code(which is possible) or pins for the Bluetooth don’t work like the switch or button. I was given the option to try to write a program for the android but there was no way to learn to write the code in a short amount of time (having four other finals to complete took priority).
After giving up knowing I would not be able to make the arduino and android talk to each other I moved on to just sewing the parts together. Because this wrist cuff was bigger I didn’t have to cut certain size pieces of cloth. I decided to use the folds that were already there so all I do was measure how much cloth I needed and cut off the rest. Then I sewed the lights and board into the interfacing, which I then stuck into the sleeve. Because of the different power source, I had to sew that to the outside of the wrist cuff. But because the positive and negative were to far spaced out from the board and power source i was unable sew the conducive thread corrected. Instead i just used the clips to provide power. Since the wrist cuff formed to my wrist the components with the interfacing did not slide around.
I did not want leave the wrist cuff unsatisfactory so I decided to upload a simple code so the lights turn on. So what I thought was a good idea fell short leaving me with the same thing we did in the first project. What I’ve learned from this is that what might seem like simple idea in your head could be a strenuous feat to try to actually accomplish with technology.
If you have been around children for any length of time, then you know that the journey towards learning which shoe goes on which foot can be quite a grueling one. For some reason, it seems that some kids insist on ignoring your directions and patient explanations in order to put their shoes on their way (most often the wrong way). This is a problem that I have seen time and time again, which is why I created the Right Light shoes. This handy pair of kicks is designed specifically for those children who struggle in the area of putting on their shoes correctly. The concept is that the child will put on the shoes and, if they put them on the right feet, they can touch their toes together and watch a bright display of LEDs blink on their shoe. If, however, the shoes go on the wrong feet, no amount of toe-touching will make those LEDs light up.
The way that these shoes work is fairly simple. I used the Adafruit Gemma as my motherboard and connected a simple watch battery to it to power it. The negative ends of the multicolored LEDs are connected via conductive thread in the usual manner (all negative ends connected to “ground” on the Gemma), however the positive ends are connected in a slightly different way. Instead of connecting the positive ends directly to the positive petal on the Gemma, I connected them to one half of the heart shape on the left shoe. The other half of the heart is connected directly to the positive petal on the Gemma, which was programmed with the “blink” code. The other shoe has a whole heart shape, also made with conductive fabric, so that that, when pushed against the two heart-halves, it allows the connection to be made between the two halves, thus allowing the positive ends of the LEDs to be indirectly connected to the positive petal on the Gemma. While this may sound rather complicated, the it is primarily a matter of disrupting and then completing a simple circuit.
When making these shoes work properly, I did run into a few problems. The main problem was the fact that making my LEDs have proper connection to the conductive thread was exceedingly difficult. It was almost impossible to get my hand inside the shoe enough to be able to make tight stitches when sewing the LEDs into the shoes. Once I made a few adjustments with the shoes (undoing, and later redoing, some seams on the shoes) I was able to continue with much more ease and accuracy. Another problem was that the conductive fabric is highly sensitive and so, once I turned the shoes on, I had to be extremely meticulous about snipping off any loose threads so they would not make an accidental connection. The coding itself was not very difficult because I only really needed to program one pedal on the Gemma and, once I got my computer compatible with the Adafruit system, that came very easily. Using the “blink” code on the Arduino program was the most obvious choice and, aside from compatibility issues with the Adafruit system, all I really had to do was write in the one pedal and choose how rapidly I wanted my lights to blink.
My main mission with these shoes has been to make learning a fun and colorful experience for children. It seems that education is becoming more and more dry and “black and white” when it should be bright, fun, and above all INTERACTIVE! These shoes are a way of teaching the child a relatively valuable concept in a way that they can actually grasp and understand. This little bit of education, I believe, has become a bit mundane for most parents and, therefore, children often do not understand how to correctly put on their shoes until they are much older than is necessary. With a technology like these shoes available, it will open up the opportunity for this lesson to be taught successfully and in a way that will make the child excited to do the task correctly the first time.
Throughout our Fashioning Circuits class, we have gone over a lot of writings that reflect the idea of technology and fashion coming together to make life more entertaining and convenient for people. There is also quite a bit of emphasis on creating wearable tech that is both functional and pleasing to the eye. In the article by Lauren Silvermen entitled, “Where High-Tech Meets High-Fashion“, she quotes designer Jennifer Darmour when she says, ““if we are going to be making these wearable devices and gadgets and we’re asking people to wear them, they need to look good.” This is an issue that I attempted to address with the Right Lights when considering their general design. I purposefully put the Gemma, battery, and LEDs underneath the fabric so that the outside looks far less like a pair of walking robot shoes and more like a pair of everyday children’s slip-ons. This information regarding wearable tech needing to be visually appealing, combined with a large amount of information regarding how to code, and also how circuits function, from the book, Open Software, enabled me to have the tools necessary to create these shoes. They are intended to simply create a fun, interactive, and colorful shoe-wearing experience for children, no matter what their age.
If there is one thing that all new parents have in common, it is the desire to understand exactly what their little bundle of joy is thinking and feeling. There are dozens of products in circulation that try to bridge the gap between the mind of the infant and their parents which include audio/video baby monitors and millions of insightful baby-interpretation books. Stepping far beyond these devices, however, is the Exmobaby technology. The company, Exmovere, has created a device that actually has the ability to easily, safely, and accurately read your baby’s moods, vitals, and physical state.
The Exmobaby is an article of clothing that contains a band of dozens of tiny sensors and monitors that can keep track of virtually every aspect of your baby’s physical state. This product comes in the form of a hypoallergenic onesie that comes in four sizes, ranging from newborn to twelve months of age. The electronic components of the garment (a thin strip around the middle and a separate wireless transceiver housed in a pouch on the front) are removable so that the garment is completely machine washable. The main electronic components are housed separately in a “bay station” that does not come in contact with the baby, ensuring that the infant is kept safe.
According to Exmovere, the Exmobaby uses embedded electrocardiogram, skin temperature, and moisture and movement sensors, to wirelessly transmit the baby’s vitals to the receiving device via bluetooth. The system constantly monitors the baby’s physical state and is then able to detect any abnormalities or alarming symptoms. This information is then sent from the monitor to the phone/tablet/computer of the parent/grandparent/nanny/etc. The accompanying smart phone application also allows the user to create alerts based on different physical states of the baby. For instance, if you notice your baby is happy at a particular time, you could save those vitals so that you will know next time that mood arises.This would be particularly helpful with moods like “hungry” or “tired” which can often leave inexperienced parents completely perplexed.
The Exmobaby, while targeted at new parents, would be particularly useful in cases of babies with medical issues. Babies with heart problems, seizures, or mental disorders could be monitored remotely by the parent, providing much more peace of mind. Parents can keep track of their baby while at work, on vacation, or when simply leaving their child at daycare for the day. With the app connected to the monitor, this product also becomes even more relevant with parents of today’s generation who rely on their technology more than ever before. This is also good news for Exmovere because, as stated in the article “The App Wars Come To Wearables – Consumers Will Be The Winners“, apps which aid in everyday life without being strictly fitness related, are going to skyrocket as more emerging companies like Exmovere begin to utilize them.
This device will open up a whole new world for wearable technology as well as parents as they can now closely monitor their babies health and mood right from their smart phone. The Exmobaby takes “wearing your heart on your sleeve” to a whole new level and I can’t help but wonder what they will think of next.
Technology and fashion are evoloving and intersecting in multiple fascinating and unexpected ways. From clothing that moves to garments that offer healing properties for the skin, techno fashion applications are literally turning the contemporary fashion aesthetic on it’s well dressed head. Below I have compiled a few examples of recent developments in the techno fashion space. From the exceedingly cool to the just plain weird, the innovations detailed below explore designers and developements on the very cutting edge of the genre.
As anyone who has ever been caught in phone menu purgatory, attempting to return wrongly sized or ill-fitting online purchases will tell you, the value of this technological innovation is significant indeed.
UpCload, a company based in Berlin, has developed technology to enable online shoppers to accurately take their own body measurements for proper sizing assessments when shopping for clothes online. The only equipment required by the shopper are a webcam and a compact disk for calibration. The tool measures such characteristics and chest circumference and arm length and then adapts those measurements to correspond with online retailers clothing sizes. Even better, shoppers can create a profile to store their measurements and use them to shop at any participating online retailer “to ensure a consistent and reliable fit.” The service is currently in beta but has plans to roll out to stores worldwide and institute social networking capabilities whereby shoppers can compare purchases among their friends. Though there may be some hidden privacy concerns here, I believe this is an excellent marriage of fashion and technology with positive implications for the digital sartorial landscape. Also, no more phone menu purgatory!
Another German company doing exciting things in the techno fashion space is Innovation and Clothing Factory. The company recently launched Twosquaremeter, an eco-chic line of knitwear featuring garments constructed from “specially developed biological yarns.” As first reported on springwise.com: “The yarns contain either seaweed fibers or milk protein fibers, both of which are thought to contain healing and nourishing properties for the skin. To produce the milk-based knitwear, natural milk is skimmed and drained before the extracted proteins are processed into fibers. Twosquaremeter claim that these fibers bind sweat and neutralize the smell, while also regulating body temperature.” Other healthful benefits of the line’s garments include clothing constructed from cotton seaweed that is purported to have skin-rejuvinating abilities. Here’s a short video showcasing the brand’s entire line.
Garments that have the ability to literally heal the wearer really represent the truly limitless potential of the techno fashion genre. Manifestations of the cyborg, whereby clothing augments human capability, have often been met with consumer circumspection. I feel this brand does much to lead the conversation in a more positive direction. Especially, considering that in addition to the healing properties of the brand’s clothing, the label has also made a commitment to ethical business practices including sustainable and environmentally sound garment production. This is surely a label for other brands to watch…and emulate.
In an irreverent take on the concept communicative fashion designer John Nussey and design student Steven Tai have developed a dress constructed from vibrating pen nibs. Literally marrying analog and digital communcations technology, the dress is constructed of 42 rows of vibrating pen nibs with each row wired with a vibrating cell phone motor. Here’s a short video of the garment in action:
The vibrating rows of nibs can be controlled, including being powered on and off, with an arduino. Hence the virating pen nib dress also possesses programming and sequencing capabilities. Of course the dress, like any good garment, is also mobile. Per Nussey in an interview for Wired UK: “The whole lot is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery, so it doesn’t have to be plugged in.” With wired vibrating nibs that remarkably resemble sequins Nussey and Tai have literally expanded on the communicative capabilities of fashion in a particularly unique and creative way. Perhaps the Pen Nib dress heralds the beginning of a techno sartorial communications revolution.
The following dress turns Manovich’s media theory of transcoding on it’s head. If trasncoding is the transformation of media into compter data, what do we call it when computer data is transformed into analog media? Behold the Angry Birds Dress.
Spotted on an attendee of a gala at the Finnish Presidential Palace, the Angry Birds Dress is media in its truest sense. Indeed it communicates something about the wearer (particularly that she has an offbeat sense of humor) and our contemporary media landscape. Allow me to channel Marshall McLuhan for a moment. I believe we are witnessng here no less than an extension of man, or woman as it were, as the Angry Birds dress is an apt illustration of the extension of the digital into the realm of the physical. Hence contemporary fashionistas are in the midst of a redefining of the self – a redefining that must make room for the digital.
These are but a few of the latest developments in the genre of techno fashion. As illustrated here the field is as broad as it is wide, and the implications for these innovations are significant indeed. As fashion and technology evolve and intersect it will be interesting to witness what innovations will come next.
There are so many interesting things on this website that I admit I start browsing and quickly feel overwhelmed. For the purposes of Fashioning Circuits, I find the “E-textiles” section very interesting.
I have never ordered from them, so I can’t speak to customer service. I’ll update this when I have a chance.
Update: Lots of us at Fashioning Circuits have been getting our supplies from SparkFun with really positive results. They ship quickly and the stuff arrives in good shape.
Lots and lots of neon wire and LED options for adding some glow to your projects. Their service is fast and friendly, but my absolute favorite thing is that before they ship, they check your order to make sure that your pieces are compatible and you have everything you need to make stuff glow.