Wearable technology isn’t limited to gadgets and has entered into the realm of clothing. Innovative designers are now capable of creating ‘smart clothing’. Smart clothing is further changing the definition of fashion. Your fabric can now do a lot more than just covering your body. Fabric can charge your phone, express your mood, automatically change colors with your mood, collect fitness related data and so on. Designers like Pauline van Dongen are constantly working on technologies that can be integrated into fabrics. Here is a list of seven such incredible works of smart clothing that will make you want to buy one.
MIT Lab’s Tangible Media Group derived and developed ‘living second skin’ from a species of ancient bacteria known as Bacillus subtilis natto. The bacteria are capable of reacting to moisture in the air. It expands and contracts depending on the level of humidity. The researchers prepared a biofilm of it and layered it onto spandex. It was given to New Balance and Lond’s Royal College of Art for conversion into clothing. The results were astonishing. The team had successfully constructed a set of activewear garments that can self-ventilate through tiny fins that open and close in accordance with wearer’s body temperature.
Working with Behnaz Farahi, Pauline van Dongen, has created a flexible wearable that can move on their own using nitinol and a small electric signal. The design is inspired from ruffled collars and was debuted at the SXSW 2015. The duo designed springlike shapes, which outfitted with a string of nitinol and a nickel titanium composite that exhibits shape memory, capable of moving with the wearer. Heated by electricity, the alloy returns to its original shape and results in responsive flow of the wearable.
Neffa, an innovative fashion company owned by Aniela Hoitink, is specialized in high-tech fabrics. Its latest product is Chameleon Mood Scarf that changes color as it reacts with light and temperature. It’s made of silk printed with thermochromic, photoluminescent, and photochromic ink. At lower temperature, the scarf exhibits white and dark stripes, whereas in sunlight it’s orange and white. In low light conditions a green pattern emerges and at night the scarf glows greenish blue.
Biomimetic Dress that Shed Leaves
Like trees shed leaves in autumn, Birce Ozkan’s brilliant ‘Fall’ dress mimics the phenomenon using wearable technology. Fall is outfitted with arduino control that releases leaves of the fabric on exposure to less light. The colored fabric bits fall to the floor when winters arrive. The dress consists of a series of brightly colored fabric bits layered all over its surface. Each bit is attached via a small glob of melted wax to a steel wire. Steel wire is looped around the dress and arduino micro and servo motors are attached to the wires. With change in light, the controllers tighten the steel wires and cause leaves to break free and fall down.
Unveiled at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Pauline van Dongen’s Solar Shirt is a follow-up to her ‘Wearable Solar’ line of sun-powered garments. Made in collaboration with Holst Centre in the Netherlands, the shirt features 120 thin film of solar modules. The dress can generate roughly 1 watt of electricity, which is enough to juice up an iPhone in a couple of hours. Not just cellphone, but the dress can charge other gadgets like MP3 players, cameras, GPS units, and other USB-compatible gadgets.
Rehabilitative Smart Cardigan
Vigor created a cardigan that uses a system of stretch sensors to monitor the movements of the upper body. It can be worn throughout the day. During this time, it gathers data and offers direct feedback not only to the wearer but to any service or care providers as well. The cardigan was made by Van Dongen in collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology’s Martijin ten Bhomer, Metaronics, De Wever, and Textielmuseum in the Netherlands.
Mood Sweater is a neat piece of wearable technology that is capable of expressing wearer’s mood using Galvanic Skin Response (GSR). It’s designed by Sensoree, founded by san Francisco-based designer Kristine Neidlinger, and features hand sensors connected to the Mood Sweater that can read weare’s excitement levels and translate them into different colors through the attached LED collar. Each color represents a specific emotion. The collar turns blue when wearer is calm, pink if excited, yellow if absolutely ecstatic, and red if nervous or in love.