Dutch materials network, Materia have noted an emergence of haptic clothing being developed. That is, wearable items that communicate non-verbally, using tactile, technological intelligence.
US design lab, Sensoree have developed a ‘mood sweater’ that interprets the wearer’s mood and communicates this via a series of multicolour LEDs embedded in the fabric of the curvaceous collar. The garment uses technology that is used in lie detector tests- monitoring body temperature and galvanic skin response (GSR), or the moisture levels caused by sweat which affect the conductivity of skin. The project began as an investigation into Sensory Processing Disorder, a condition that includes ADHD and autism, and the development of a wearable technology to augment it. This has now led to the production of wearable technology to promote ‘extimacy’ or externalised intimacy.
The structure of the neckline brings to mind a protective tortoise shell; perhaps the visual warnings of emotions will provide shelter with the messages they project. Although confusions may arise when the high-tech sweaters go on sale early next year- the colour red stands for both nervousness and love.
T-shirt OS tackles that garment which the designers refer to as the ‘original canvas of personal expression’. Revamping it with an LED screen, camera and microphone that connect to your smartphone. Publicly tweeting and uploading photos of your whereabouts, this brings a whole new dimension to the messages one can project with dress sense choices.
Then there are Bluetooth enabled shoes by Indian company LECHAL which have the potential to steer blind people around obstacles and direct those who need a little guidance with pedestrian navigation. Google announced an ‘Android wearables’ platform last month and as materials develop swiftly to be lighter, cheaper and smarter we can only imagine what clothing of the not too distant future will be capable of.