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November 26th, 2013

“And a great time was had by all!” That’s the way you want people to remember your conference, and for the 17th time in a row it happened for the International Symposium on Wearable Computers in September 2013 (ISWC 2013). Today, let’s focus on what happened at ISWC – a perfect subject since this single event combines high-tech, R&D, optics, service animals, movies—and fashion.

For the year’s program, there were numerous high-quality submissions for every “call” category: academic papers, items for the Gadget Show and the Design Exhibition. With the advent of Google Glass (and a Microsoft competitor?), the category of wearable computing that includes such visual aids and virtualizers has gotten plenty of publicity of late. The real action was in the Design Exhibition’s wearable technology/clothing category, which added a touch of whimsy and style. Of the 15 exhibits, four represent the astonishing range of  creativity and passion found at the event.

Lume - electronically infused clothing collection 1. Lüme — This lightshow-infused-garment was conceived by Elizabeth E. Bigger, Luis E. Fraguada, and Jorge & Esther, then built by Associative Data. Wireless control will allow the wearer to select colors, patterns, and other options to “illuminate” the fabric with embedded LEDs. The series of Lüme garments share this ability to change color with cool blends and riotous flashes. Lüme was the Design Exhibition prize winner for aesthetic garments.

E-Shoe2. E-Shoe: High-Heeled Shoe Guitar — Max Kibardin at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia developed the shoe with Australian pop duo Chicks on Speed to accompany their wearable “supersuits” that control various video, audio, and stage-lighting functions. The E-Shoe and other wearable music devices have brought an entirely new dimension to “multimedia performances.” Now, these “body performance devices” aren’t in our audio visual (AV) equipment rentals inventory, but are being sold—and built at colleges near and far, no doubt.

3. Brace Yourself: World’s Sexiest Knee “Brace” — from Crystal Compton and Guido Gioberto of the University of Minnesota, the World’s Sexiest Knee “Brace”  is not quite a brace (the quote marks are in the official name). It is unclear why the term was used, when the actual application is great and needs no clever assists. The filament running down the stocking length is a bend sensor, and embedded tracking software tracks knee movement, supplying data to enable further refinement of, well, real braces.

4. Play the Visual Music — Helen Koo of Auburn University developed a garment that reacts to sound and displays “visual multi-sensory stimulation” to viewers. In Koo’s design for incorporating advanced electronics with practical, wearable clothing, she embedded EL (electroluminescent) wire. Although Koo is working on other designs—and should consider a wireless means of controlling the unit from any computer rental, tablet, or phone—the current EL model will blink, not “paint” or morph colors, according to its embedded program.

While CRE Rentals doesn’t offer any wearable technology (just yet), we do offer technology rentals to set up a new office or for a short-term project. If you know what you need, complete the Technology Rental Request or give us a call at 877-266-7725.

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