My Top 5 of Wearable Tech for 2017 #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #DIY #Arduino #art #tech

It’s that time of year when I take a hard look at the projects that have surprised, humored and impressed me. Keep in mind that I try to keep this list for designers/makers that are not (yet) famous. Oh yes, and I have to warn you that there was a tie this year for 5th place. So, let’s start there.

#5 Flutter

These beautiful wings make me want to reach out because of their texture and hand-painted beauty. Not only do they resemble the wings of dragonflies, but they also are a welcome change to the typical fairy wings. Created by students at the School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington, the piece incorporates movement and light.

Tied for 5th place is the Applause Collar by Zoey Mahony. Triggered by the sound of handclaps, classy white LEDs come alive under a layer of macraméd cords feeding into the desire for attention (and the loop it creates as the audience receives a light show). The interwoven lines of the piece had me before I even considered the tech!

#4 Social Escape Dress

Feeling anxious and nervous? The Social Escape Dress makes your situation visible, and perhaps even playful according to the artist Kathleen McDermott. The dress uses a Galvanic Skin Response sensor to trigger 9 mini fog machines for stimulating attire.

#3 WiFi Cactus

WiFi Cactus at DefCon

There is humor and security in Mike Spicer’s WiFi Cactus. This ginormous wearable features “50 WiFi radios to detect passive monitoring of the devices near it.” In other words, this is what you want to follow at a hacker convention. This type of device is also nicknamed a pineapple, and you can see Mike has cleverly placed one at the pinnacle. This was certainly my most surprising post of the year.

#2 Akulva Tauren Frost Death Knight

This costume is adorably fierce thanks to Arduinos controlling the eyes and speech. When the wearer speaks into a mic, the mouth of the costume is able to match the movement and deepen the voice thanks to an Adafruit Wave Shield. This amazing build by Jason Caulfield has already won awards and I suspect there will be more, if not an offer from Disney.

#1 Symbiotic Interaction

Symbiotic Interaction

The interdependence of the environment and people is the focus of this project by María Castellanos and Alberto Valverde. There is a sense of space exploration and a real purpose with the plants as they tie into the breath (CO2) cycle. Other plants also act as sensors creating a graphical display of the environment on the wearer’s glove. Modular magnetic units hold the plants in place and there is extra charm with the sounds of bird chirping as an audible feedback for changes detected in the environment. This project reflects so many interesting facets of making and ties into an important theme earning it my top rank for 2016. Thanks to all of the artists and makers who have contributed in the past year. Not only is it a joy to share your work, but it also inspires many, including moi. Cheers to the new year!

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