technology: September 2003 Archives

rain

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A few years ago Elise Co from the MIT Media Lab was working on a luminescent raincoat. It had panels that would light up when they got wet, mirroring the pattern of the raindrops.

Interactive rain gear has since made it out of academia and onto the runway. The June 2003 issue of Wired featured a transparent raincoat from Prada that becomes opaque when it gets wet from rain or perspiration. Miuccia Prada says, "Every piece of clothing shapes your body but also the space around you, the emptiness around you. This raincoat, from our 2002 winter collection, plays off that divide. ... It changes the relationship between what's inside and outside."

I'm not crazy about the perspiration thing, but I really like the idea of clothing responding to environmental factors like rain in a whimsical way.

BBC article rehash

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Several people have sent me links to or about the recent BBC article covering the Eurowearable 03 conference. Roland Piquepaille pulls out snippets from the original article for those who don't feel like reading the whole thing.

A post on gizmodo was dismissive, stating "the biggest reason why wearable computing hasn't taken off is that the clothes are usually ugly." My friend Megan had the same reaction when she looked at the illuminating dress that I mentioned in a previous post. Yes, as excited as I am about this dress, I admit the fabric is not something you long for in an evening dress. Or a sundress. Or any dress really. But the illuminating dress is important because it's an attempt, and an excellent one at that, to bridge the gulf between fashion and engineering.

The BBC article says that "much ... does not make it out of the engineer's lab or off the fashion designer's sketch pad". Clearly this will need to change in order for the field to move forward and I get the feeling that it's already happening. This is actually where I hope to position myself when I graduate next year.

- from Micah, John, and Haven. Thanks! :o)

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