Recently in fun Category

This is corny

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If you like fashion and reality TV (like I do), have access to the Bravo channel (like I do), and have always wanted to see the inside of the Parsons School of Design (like I have), you should check out Project Runway. On this new reality series, twelve fashion designers compete for a New York Fashion Week runway show and $100,000 to launch their own clothing line.

I caught the show last night, and was instantly hooked. The challenge for episode one was to design an outfit from materials found at a grocery store. The winner made a dress out of cornhusks, which the judges deemed much more innovative than the outfits made of garbage bags, shower curtains, lawn chairs, mop heads, candy, pantyhose, and cupcake foils. Huh? Yeah, go watch the show. Its regular time is Wednesdays at 10pm Eastern.

Is that a hair in your coffee?

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I love observing how people "dress" their personal technology: bedazzling cell phones, wrapping ipods, toting laptops in stylish bags.

But how far will this trend go?

Now you can dress your paper coffee cup... XS Couture has designed the Fur Cozie -- a fur, leather, and suede java jacket that will keep you from burning your little paws. "The fur provides a luxurious sensual experience, indicating one's distinguished refinement while enjoying their to-go latte." Hahahahaha! Even more laughable is the $85 price tag.

- seen in Dwell magazine

Visions of the future?

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A year ago, TIME published a list of innovations that were predicted to change our lives, but haven't quite had the impact some imagined.

Among the items from "future that wasn't": a jet-propelled backpack that appeared in a 1969 issue of Popular Science. There's a fabulous image of a person in retro-futuristic garb, seemingly flying through mist over a mountain range.


The guidelines developed through Carnegie Mellon's Design for Wearability research state that wearable artifacts need to be designed with a humanistic form language. That is, they need to be concave on the inside surface to accommodate for the body's curves, and convex on the outside surface to deflect bumps and to stabilize the form on the body.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I get concerned about rectangular tech gadgets that are billed as "wearable" simply because they are small, strapped to some part of the body, or hung from the neck. Yet this currently seems to be a popular design/marketing strategy.

So just for fun, and to make a not-so-subtle point, I decided to strap several common rectangular objects to a friend's arm. Hopefully the idea of wearable Elvis playing cards seems as ridiculous to you as it does to me! Tic tac, anyone?

- Thanks to my faithful model Ellen!

now isn't this sweet

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The folks who run "ensemble", an electronic music workshop for children, have created several garments and accessories with simple sensors. There's a hat that senses its position, a bag that senses light and darkness, suspenders that sense when they're being stretched, suits that sense their distance from each other, umbrellas that sense pressure, and skirts that sense acceleration.

As the kids play dress up, their movements and actions modify sounds and allow them to physically explore the music they create.

- Thanks to Chad for this link!

electronic t-shirts

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Cyberdog, a company that appears to be devoted to progressive clothing and techno music, is selling electonic t-shirts. (To find them, click on "t-shirts" and then "light-tee s/s" or "light vests".) Their designs include one with a 32-character programmable scolling message on the chest and another with a sound-activated graphic equalizer. Unfortunately they only have a picture of the scrolling message tee, though there are animations for the rest. I can't decide if these shirts are cool or goofy. Maybe they're both.

Something I don't hear much about is how you wash this type of clothing. Cyberdog says that each shirt comes with a battery pack and plug in module, the removal of which I would assume makes the shirts washable, but I'm not completely sure about that.

If you visit their site, it's worth taking five minutes to look through the rest of their clothes. A few things interest me, like their long drape skirt, but clearly I am not in their target audience! Still, it's fun for a look.

feeling good

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Megan Galbraith, from the Aesthetics & Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab, showed her illuminating dress in the Wear Me exhibition that was part of Eurowearable 03.

The dress, named Elroy, is shown in a short feel-good video (6.2MB) that will make you want to either buy one of these dresses or make one yourself! OK, well that's what it did for me. The captions read, "The panels rearrange patterns depending on the time. It's about a relationship between you and your wardrobe. It's not about computers strapped to your arm. It's about bringing the world of fashion into the 21st century. Because what we wear should make us feel good. And if it doesn't, it should change."

Megan has created so many amazing things and her website is a treasure trove for anyone excited about wearables and fashion. Especially worth checking out are her page on computational fashion concepts and her Masters thesis entitled Embedded Systems for Computational Garment Design. Go! Go Now!



"Smart-e-pants" - the trousers that automatically determine how much turkey you've eaten at Thanksgiving, and adjust their size accordingly. No more loosening the belt, etc.

- from Mike, who has also requested computerized underpants on several occasions

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