Molecule Shoe created by Francis Bitonti Studio
As noted in my previous post, I visited an exhibit at the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator (BF+DA) called “Cloud-Couture: The Intimate Connection Between Fashion and Technology.” The exhibit displayed wearable technology examples such as accessories that could be used to monitor body movement for NASA, the Navigate jacket from Wearable Experiments, and athletic body metric wear from Hexoskin. The exhibit also featured new techniques for creating clothing and accessories like 3D printed shoes from Francis Bitonti Studio, DryDye (see my previous post), embroidered LEDs and electronics from Forster Rohner, and new computer programs such as virtual draping by CLO3D to reduce fabric waste during design.
The embroidered LED fabric from Forster Rohner was especially beautiful. They are a Swiss company who have specialized in textile creation since 1904. Their illuminated textiles with “e-broidery® technology” allow for “the integration of active lighting into fabrics without compromising the textile properties such as washability and drapability.”
Illuminated Textiles by Forster Rohner
In addition, their textile products include conductors, heating elements, and sensors embedded in their custom fabric creations. Suggested applications from their website include textile wiring, antennas, heated clothing and upholstery, heating pads for medical and technical equipment, and temperature, humidity, or pressure sensors. Forster Rohner’s textiles are delicate and crafted and bring an elegance to the tech and engineering side of wearables that can be lacking.
The exhibit ended Thursday, February 12th, with a panel discussion on intimacy and technology. The panel was moderated by Leah Hunter (Fast Company) and included Bre Pettis (founder, Makerbot), Billie Whitehouse (co-founder, Wearable Experiments), Evan Lazarus (Safe Family Wearables), and Paul Amitai (Eyebeam). The panel was well moderated – Leah asked interesting questions about the panel topics but also allowed the guests to muse on their inspiration and current work. Evan Lazarus commented on the amount of data that is now available and that “wearable tech is in its 20s.” The idea was from his father, he said, who had told him that before your 20s you are figuring yourself out and what you want to do, in your 20s you are collecting data, in your 30s you synthesize that data, in your 40s you (hopefully) make (a lot) of money, so that in your 50s you can retire.
I’ve followed wearable technology news and applications for about three years and have seen it become a topic that is reported on and discussed by most news sources. As it is being accepted as a useful tool and more wearable products are being bought by more people, there is an abundance of (mostly personal) data that is not being used. Imagine all of the information that could be accumulated by you and about you in a day, then triple that, at least, to account for all the new types of monitoring you are not considering. Where is this data going? How is it being used? Would you like it to be public? Private? Anonymous?
And, who will be making money off of it in the future?
Sources: Forster Rohner, Adafruit blog/Francis Bitonti Studio