Wearable technology may just be the future of fashion. Much like those science fiction movies you grew up on, the future is now and that means what you wear can keep track of your daily life — from a dress that emits smoke to a jacket that updates your Facebook status. Whether or not you like the idea of being connected 24/7 through your garments, wearable tech is a reality and soon you won't be able to avoid it. Besides, if you're already glued to your smartphone, you may as well make it easier on yourself and just wear it.
What makes these pieces so interesting isn't just what they can do, but how art and technology are combined to create unique fashion statements with purpose. New York-based designer Dr. Sabine Seymoure told Smart Planet that in ten years, she pictures walking through Central Park wearing a garment that can cool her down when it gets too hot and change color depending on her mood (which already exists).
Soaring past Google Glass and smart watches, these electronically-enhanced clothing items are paving the way for our future — whether you like it or not.
Photo Courtesy of DIFFUS
Designed by DIFFUS, the Climate Dress brings environmentally ethical fashion to a whole new level by actually sensing the CO2 concentration in the air. "Soft circuits" are integrated into the dress, creating diverse light patterns (varying from slow pulses to short and hectic flashing) in response to your environment.
Photo Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde
This one may not be the best choice for a simple night out on the town, unless you like the idea of your outfit becoming transparent when you see a cute guy at the bar. From Studio Roosegaarde, INTIMACY is made using opaque smart e-foils (coming in white or black) that become increasingly transparent based on how close and personal you become with people. Quite literally putting arousal on display by tracking your heartbeat, the 2.0 version has the added texture of leather. The company is looking for haute couture designers to develop their 3.0 line for both men and women.
Photo Courtesy of Anouk Wipprecht | Robert Lunak
Have you ever wanted to disappear in a puff of smoke, making a dazzling escape from that creep at the bar? If you answered yes, you may want to figure out how to get your hands on the Smoke Dress from Dutch designer Anouk Wipprecht. The delicate dress is covered with metallic threads and wire, which includes blinking lights to draw you in. When it detects someone approaching though, the dress releases clouds of ambient smoke which, one would assume, allows you to escape mysteriously. It's operated by the micro-controller-based, battery-driven sensory system found on the back of the garment, which calculates your personal bubble and sends the data to the smoke generator between the shoulder blades. I'm going to hazard a guess that this may not be the best bet for anyone with asthma.
Photo Courtesy of Electric Foxy
Electric Foxy has plenty of interesting wearable tech to their name, one of which is their Ping Vest. This track-style hoodie connects wirelessly to your Facebook account so you can update your status through simple gestures (like lifting the hood, playing with the zipper, and tying a bow). It comes with an app that allows you tailor the type of messages Ping sends depending on your mood, who you're "pinging" and where you are. If someone responds to your message, you will feel a ping back thanks to tech in the shoulder that gives a slight tapping movement to alert you. It even allows you to change the tapping rhythm to assign certain tempos to specific people and groups.
Photo Courtesy of Hövding
Hövding is one of the neatest examples of wearable technology that I've seen, especially considering that it serves a very real purpose by reinventing the bicycle helmet. Designed by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, the helmet is actually an airbag hidden within a cowl-like collar. Built-in sensors are connected to a trigger system, which picks up any abnormal movements you may make on your bike — you know, like hitting a car. Using helium, a full-sized helmet deploys in around 0.1 seconds after an accident. Hövding is made using a tough nylon fabric, which can apparently withstand rough scrapes against asphalt without ripping. It also maintains pressure long enough to keep your head safe in case of multiple impacts.
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