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October 22, 2014 AT 3:00 am

Geeking Out at Wear It Berlin #WearableWednesday

I had the joy of speaking recently at Wear It Berlin — Berlin’s first wearables and art festival. It was part making, part talks, and part-y! (LEDs do look nicer in the dark). This fest was envisioned by the folks at Trafo Pop, a group of tech cyclists that create mega amazing LED bike jackets. Their jackets are a take-off on the Hell’s Angels idea, only a bit friendlier looking. Needless to say, the members were easy to spot at the party. They’ve really got their circuits worked out nicely, using a specific program to help create the LED light code. Each jacket is different, combining silk screening and other elements to create an interesting motif. I wanted to take them all home with me (both the members and the jackets)! Actually, they were all so inspiring that I may be starting a Trafo chapter in Philly.

WearTrafo

No party would be complete without entertainment, and on stage Rebecca Halls worked with LED hoops and laser hoops — yes lasers, woot! I have to say, those were pretty darn spectacular. Later, Lizzy Scharnofske was jamming with her Body Pads suit. It was great to see her slapping samples out while interacting with the lead guitar guy. Did I mention that Berliners take partying seriously? It is quite normal to party until 7:00 AM and carry your beer as you go. With my jet lag, I was carrying Club-Mate.

WearHula

WearBodyPads

Upstairs at the party, artists had their wearables on display. Some were geared to fantasy, like the costumes from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea designed by Bauhaus University Weimar. Others were geared to our near future, like the MOON Hoodie. Both use interesting glow techniques including fiber optics. Check out the colorful clusters on the Captain Nemo cape embedded in a mane of yarn.

WearOcto

MoonHoodie

WearCape

Another striking piece, Hard Core Vein 2.0 by Maartje Dijkstra, resembles a Giger-esque exo-skeleton. It was 3D printed and portions of it are filled with pulsing liquid, similar to the way a body pumps fluids. Not only was I impressed by the piece, but I’m still in shock that I was actually speaking with Maartje #rockstarmoment. Another favorite on the floor was an LED jacket by Rene Bohne. His jacket uses networks to bootload code like a virus across the LEDs, which makes it fun to watch as it loads. Rene is a pretty popular guy, as he wrote the O’Reilly Making Things Wearable German edition. Speaking of books, Kate Hartman of Toronto, Canada, was on hand for a talk the next day, with her just out American edition of the book. It was great to meet two people that are helping people around the world dive into wearables.

WearDrip2

WearLEDViral

I could go on and on, but why not check out the photos and videos on Wear It Berlin’s Facebook. Special thanks to Richard Gretzinger, Adlan Mansri and Michael Wittig for some great photos. Berlin will never be the same, and pretty soon everyone will have something with lights! I’m already pining for my own denim LED studded jacket. You can get a similar look with our FLORA Brake Light Backpack tutorial. Have the pleasure of warning people behind you when you come to a stop, and also flash them some turn signals. You will probably need to tweak the accelerometer threshold if you are using a bike instead of a cycle, but that’s the joy of hacking. Be insanely colorful and make other drivers aware of you on the road — that’s what the Trafo Pop movement is about.


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