How about a stylish bike-helmet that is invisible and protects both your brain and your looks? Or an alarm clock that wakes you up without making a sound. Not interested yet? Maybe, a wearable computer that looks like futuristic glasses, or a sweater that changes colour according to your emotions? It is not a fantasy, it is very real and with reach. Let’s take a look at some of this wearable tech.
Wearable tech is technology worn on the body or, in some cases, even in the body. A few years ago no one heard of wearable tech and now, with the creation of Google Glass and Samsung Galaxy Gear Smart Watch, this fast growing industry sparks the interest of investors, consumers, and, of course, the fashion industry.
Until recently the world of technology and elite fashion did not seem to go hand in hand, but with the increasing popularity of wearable tech, these two diverse industries begun to collide. In 2013 Apple has hired two fashion giants, Angela Ahrendts, who had been the CEO of Burberry for 7 years, and Paul Deneve, former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent. This decision marks the beginning of the new era in the wearable tech industry, the era of fusion between fashion and technology.
So if you think that fashion can’t surprise us with something entirely new, it is just because you haven’t heard about wearable tech yet.
Hövding biking helmet
Already today we can have a taste of this upcoming trend, in the form of the sleek Hövding versatile helmet.
This fashionably looking collar that comes in few different styles is in fact an airbag helmet that opens up in situation of the rapid movement. In terms of functionality, it is not really a threat to the traditional helmet, but it has filled the niche of demand for a bike helmet in which you can look good and stylish.
The air-helmet was developed by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin in 2005 as part of their master thesis project for Industrial Design at the University of Lund. At that time, under Swedish regulations helmets were obligatory for children under 15. But what about adults? Shouldn’t they protect their heads as well? Haput and Alstin came to the conclusion that most of the “casual” bikers who use bike as a mean of transportation refrain from using a bike helmet due to the concerns over their looks ( it is true that is how little it takes to stop is from protecting our lives) . They also noticed that the market of bike helmets offers only sport models and lacks any more casual in style, and that is how they came up with the idea of a slick inflatable urban bike helmet.
What started as a thesis project quickly evolved into a business. Their award winning designs can now be found in bike shops across the world as well as at their online store. The price is maybe a bit higher that for regular helmet, but it is nothing compared to what some people are prepared to shell out for a pair of stunning shoes.
Germood sweater by Sensoree
There is a long list of things that were once invented as something very different from what they ended up being. The most famous is Coca- cola which was once invented as a medicine and became one of the biggest icons of pop-culture.
The same might happen with, Galvanized Skin Response (GSR), a method initially developed for lie detectors , which was used by the Sensoree to create a sweater changing its color in accordance to the emotions of its wearer. GSR did not succeed in pleading people guilty or not, but might just be on its way to becoming a new trend in fashion or a new treatment for sensory processing disorder.
A color changing mood-meter is hardly a new idea, and it even had its moment in in the pop-culture in the 1970s with the mood-ring, which changed its color in accordance to temperature. This forgotten idea, was given a futuristic form and brought back to life by Germood Sweater.
The sweater uses Galvanized Skin Response Method (GSR), a method used previously in lie- detectors. A sensor placed in the hand measures the conductivity of the body to define the level of excitement and nervousness. While GSR method did not make a career in getting people plead guilty or not, its great moment is maybe still about to come with the Germood sweater, which is according its creators will take human interaction into another level.
While it may be a fun gadget, do we always want to wear our hearts on our sleeves? Is there no more need for intimacy in our world, shaped by social media and modern technology? Sensoree, the creator of Germood sweater, responds to these concerns by presenting it as an innovation in the world of human interaction. They have even coined a new word for it “extimacy”, an externalized intimacy, defined as a tool for enhancing intimacy and telepathy. Once I got past the name which gives me the impression of internal contradiction, I gave it another thought. Don’t we all, sometimes have these days when we feel like screaming “stay away from me”, but we can’t because it would be rude, inappropriate, or we just don’t want to be bothered with defining our mood. Maybe “extimacy” gives us an opportunity to avoid many misunderstandings, arguments and unpleasant moments. After all the body often tells us what the mind is trying to hide. The increased body-awareness could lead to a new means of communication for people suffering from sensory processing disorders such as Autism or ADHD.
Whether any of these products are functional or not, they are certainly new, interesting, and give us the opportunity to express ourselves and let’s be honest, it is not functionality but beauty, the self-expression and the exclusivity that stand at the core of fashion, and fashion is now a very strong player in the world of wearable tech.