For a while now, the tech world has been obsessed with “wearables” — smartwatches, body-monitoring wrist bands, Google Glass, and other devices that you can wear on your person to make technology more readily available. “Wearable tech,” it’s often called.
But some of the most interesting gadgetized accessories these days have an unusual twist: Their real function is to thwart or disabletechnology.
Call it the rise of wearable anti-tech.
These experiments, which range from the practical to the theatrical, all have one thing in common: They respond to the annoyances, incursions, and even threats of technology with clever technology jujitsu.
They represent the latest that technology has to offer to get rid of the latest that technology has to offer.
Sometimes it takes the form of a weapon in a more quotidian battle over technological control — as in the ridiculously appealing TV-B-Gone hoodie, which embeds a universal remote in a sweatshirt and uses conductive thread to turn a zipper into an off switch for irritating television sets.
That one is from Becky Stern, who among other things is director of wearable electronics at the endlessly impressive DIY-tech site Adafruit.
“As we lose agency over our devices (NSA spying, operating systems phoning home even in airplane mode, etc.), we’re seeing folks take DIY actions to reclaim ownership over their devices and privacy, sometimes as artistic and political statements too,” Stern told me.
“When you can’t trust your phone, but it becomes a necessary evil in your life, it makes a lot of sense that you’d want to have a way to take total control over it. This troubled relationship is very fertile ground for artists and hackers right now.”
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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