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December 30, 2015 AT 1:00 am

My Top Five Almost Famous Wearables for 2015 #WearableWednesday

EnvironDressSkirtMore

Environment Dress-Maria Castellanos & Alberto Valverde

With it’s fresh array of sensors and mod “60’s meets space” motif, I knew the Environment Dress was going to be my top choice the minute I saw it. Imagine being able to sense environmental conditions like temperature, UV radiation and Carbon Monoxide with instant visual readouts on 3D printed flowers. Now combine the magic of open source DIY in a kit that allows you to assemble the same cluster of sensors on your own outfit. Each of the sensors attaches with magnets and it’s basically plug and play. This is a well thought out project with the ability to engage a large audience, using Arduino YUN as well as Adafruit parts. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the future—especially once data is collected around the world. With the toxins in our environment, this project is the spacesuit everyone needs for our planet.

SubwayDress

GPS Subway Dress-Boram Kim

This simple dress will get you to the nearest subway station if you are traveling around NYC. Along with it’s chic look, it illuminates LEDs based on proximity to a station. So, if you are close to Classon Ave. station, expect the G line to light up in a splendor of green on the dress. This is a great example of normal clothing made functional through the use of electronics. There is also something elegant and modern about the graphic of a map done in metallic embroidery. You’ll find more details on Boram’s project for ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program-NYU) on her site.

VideoBlastr

VIDEOBL∧ST_R-RA

VIDEOBL∧ST_R makes my list, just because I know so many people trying to project their messages on buildings in cities. This wearable allows you to project your art from the comfort of your arm using a Raspberry Pi, Arduino Uno and a Wii Nunchuck tied into an Optoma PK-320 projector. It’s a doable DIY project that is compact and practical. It’s also a great use of a Rollerblade wrist guard.

Key Bod

Key Bod-Nitcha Fame Tothong & Hayley Qu

A team at Parsons School of Design created a shirt that allows you to improve your posture and examine your habits when typing on a keyboard. Key Bod first examines your posture, thanks to a triple-axis accelerometer hooked up to an Arduino Micro. A slouch will cause a warning on your screen with the count of slouches you have produced. Further slouches may force you into the shirt’s “typing mode”, which means you would have to use the embroidered letters scattered on the front and back of the shirt as the keyboard. Not only does this make sure that you are not sitting in a bad posture for a long time, but it also looks at the relationship of user to computer. How often do we slam our keys and disrespect our computer. Key Bod is a gentler and more mindful practice of typing.

Thinkerbelle-e1434412898970

Thinkerbelle-Rain Ashford

Wearable tech is swiftly moving to the same place as robotics with brain interfaces. It just so happens that Rain Ashford has been working on some pretty exciting EEG affected wearables, including her latest dress, Thinkerbelle. Fiber optic material relays colors of brain data using a Neurosky Mindwave headset and an Adafruit Pro Trinket Microcontroller. Red color shows attention, while green color indicates meditation. So, the dress allows the wearer to learn about maintaining different states, while also allowing a form of non-verbal communication for others to view. Are we ready to go public? That is the question that Rain is examining.

It’s helpful to review this year’s work, especially when wearables are often dogged as impractical or not fashionable. I could have easily had ten projects on this list and it was hard for me to narrow them down. Some of the most extraordinary work is done by students or makers that are trying to solve a problem. So, even though the media is speaking about the failure of wearables, it has more to do with the challenges and compromises of mass production. Something on the body inevitably enters into fashion, which is a very unique form of expression. Whether it is a hat or a hearing aid, there is no reason why it can’t be functional and artistic, and there’s plenty of room for your ideas. If you want to learn more, you should definitely check out Getting Started With Adafruit FLORA. It’s a great intro to textiles and tech and there’s plenty of helpful tips that will save you time from learning on your own. So, make your new year one of exploration into your own wardrobe. How will you connect?

FLORABook


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!


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