This article is sponsored by HP, who challenged fans to design a HP Ultrabook Bag! Head over to HP and vote for your favorite bag. (Pssss – The winning designer gets a grand prize of $10,000 and a cool new HP Spectre XT Ultrabook™).
September 20th, 2012 – The wearable technology industry is booming! Currently, there are 14 million nifty items on the market that intersect fashion and technology, by 2016 there is expected to be a whopping 171 million. All these groundbreaking inventions are on the brink of changing the way we interact with one another on a daily basis. After sifting through 14 million products (kidding!) we chose nine really epic pieces that showcase where we are today in the wearable technologies industry. Did you know you could charge your cell phone with your rain boots? Wear a necklace that can detect and display your emotions? Or, our personal favorite, a dress that can whip up a stellar White Russian cocktail. Best-party-trick-ever!
1. Power Wellies: Wearable technology has its challenges, especially with how they get powered. Here’s a great energy-harvesting solution created by Orange in collaboration with Gotwind. Together, they created energy producing wellie boots that enable users to charge their phone or other mobile gadgets. The prototype wellies use a unique ‘power generating sole’ that converts heat from your feet into an electrical current. This ‘welectricity’ can then be used to re-charge your mobile phone!
2. MOVE Activewear: Move is a concept technology garment designed by Electricfoxy, that guides you toward optimal performance and precision in movement in an ambient, precise, and beautiful way. From daily activities to sports activities to expressive movement, it provides a softer, poetic, and more personal approach to physical performance that helps you alleviate incorrect physical movement, which can lead to chronic pain or even long-term damage. The garment includes 4 stretch and bend sensors located in the front, back and sides – then the garment sends all that data to a mobile app, a cloud service that includes a library of movements and storage so that you can save and backup any custom moves that you create along with your progress and tracking data.
3. Cocktail Making Robot Dress: Daredroid is a biomechanic hybrid cocktail robot, which rewards players with a White Russian cocktail upon accepting and completing a game of Truth or Dare. The dress combines pneumatic technology with open-source hardware and human temperament to provide you with a freshly made White Russian cocktail. Your presence triggers the dress to produce milk, and your willingness to play a game of Truth and Dare combined with your natural charm, triggers the decision to give you more than just tepid milk.
4. Color Changing Dress: The Rainforest Dress by Rainbow Winters is a garment that changes colors when it comes in contact with the sunlight or water - morphing from a black and white dress into a colorful ensemble!
5. Transparency Changing Dress: INTIMACY 2.0 by Studio Roosegaarde is a wearable dresses composed of leather and smart e-foils which would be daringly perfect to wear on the red carpet! In response to the heartbeat of each person, INTIMACY 2.0 becomes more or less transparent. This high-tech fashion project explores the relation between intimacy, fashion, and technology.
6. Augmented Reality Helmet: Designer Maxence Parache has created Hyper-reality, which alters the perception of our environment using an augmented reality helmet, an interactive glove, and a Kinetic system. The experience allows you to navigate through a 3D environment as if you’re in an entirely new world.
7. Pulse Ring: Stay in your zone. Pulse is a wearable accessory and mobile phone experience that monitors your heart rate and helps keep you in your most optimal fitness zone. The tech geniuses at Electricfoxy were determined to make fitness performance simple. In addition, focusing on staying within your optimal target heart rate zone can help you burn more calories and reach your goals more efficiently. No constant calculation in your head. No bulky hardware. Pulse simplifies your heart rate performance and helps keep you in your zone, beautifully and discretely.
8. Zip Earbud Jacket: Finally, a fashionable solution to keeping your earbud cords from knotting. Zip is a garment by Electricfoxy that connects to your phone or music player and allows you to control it simply by performing natural gestures that are built into the mechanics of the garments we wear. In this case, zip up to increase the volume, zip down to decrease it, and tug on the pullstraps to retract the integrated earbuds.
9. Emotion Sensing Necklace: VIBE by Philips Design is one of their “far-future” initiatives. The necklace is an emotional sensing necklace that combines conductive ink and textile sensors. The fashionable device can read multiple biometric signals of the wearer and communicates them to other devices and other wearers. Most electronic communication is limited to very direct channels where we naturally exhibit many more signals or channel indirectly. This opens up a whole new universe of emotional applications, such as physical and emotional gaming, mind and stress control applications, as well as emotional telephony!
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