Wearable Technology – It’s Everywhere

Wearable Technology Gravity Defying Shoes

Wearable Technology – It’s Everywhere Or Going to Be

A couple years ago, one of my friends, Brian Kane, was teaching a class at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) on Wearable Technology.  At the end of the class, students had a photoshoot with their creations as well as a runway show.   Brian, and artist and tech person, needed an extra set of hands to help with the end of year events, so I pitched in.  It was an eye opener.  Wearable technology has many definitions and uses.  It’s new textiles; new ways to measure/manage body functions; new fashion designs that can even defy gravity.  If you do anything today, scroll through the pictures below,  See if you are as shocked as I was.  

When you first think of wearable technology, you think of Fitbits and Apple Watches.  You may even think of the different monitors out there to help those who have fallen and can’t get up.

But there is so much more.  Take a look at the different types of wearables from fashion to functional and enter the world of Internet of Things (IoT).  You maybe surprised what’s possible and could become part of our everyday lives sometime in the future.

Creativity Galore

Since the students did some truly unique things, I’m going to share some of the pictures from the RISD event first.  Then go from there. Check these out …

Gravity Defying Shoes

This student, created a pair of shoes that had nGravity Defying Shoes - No Heelso heels that you could wear as if they were a fashion “must have.”

It was incredible.  When they went down the runway, you were puzzled how it was possible.  They had a futuristic design and were as stable and useful of any pair in your closet.

I mean look at them, they are gorgeous.  With my shoe fetish, this was one of my favorites.

Wait, before we go to the next picture … this is a much more sophisticated description of the class that I found on the designboom website.  Read below.  Oh and the no caps of the sentences is part of the creative flare I guess.

“as part of an interdisciplinary fashion and technology course at the rhode island school of design, students were asked to explore new aesthetics, narratives, and styles sourced from the latest high-tech materials accessible to an apparel designer. led by brian kane and catherine andreozzi, the young artists and designers investigated the emotional responses elicited by various styles of clothing and the unique, and often quite personal, interaction between wearer and wearable.   with a focus on the ever-expanding culture of body-based digitalism — where smartphones are always in pockets and watches can read through your emails — the students were challenged to create not only tech-centric couture, but more importantly, aesthetically significant pieces that connect to people on an emotional and humanistic level.”

Wow … that’s more inspiring than my description.  OK back to the student’s genius work.

This is a structured dress with no real anchor in the back.  It’s also made of leather tanned with vegetable stain.


This next one is pretty fun … it’s a wearable garden and considered by this student as also a virtual reality.  This is creative and whimsical.


Ok … last one of this group — a LED mask that symbolizes the plight of women’s voices being silenced.

RISD artists redefine wearable technology with an emotional appeal

That’s right I saved the most political one for last, but it is well designed and exemplified the goal of the class.

Wearable Technology’s World of Sensors

We talked about the Apple Watch above.  It’s a technology that relies on sensors to gather information related to your health and activities.  Well look what else sensors can do …

These ‘Smart’ Ballet Shoes Digitally Paint Dancers’ Fancy Footwork

These 'Smart' Ballet Shoes Digitally Paint Dancers' Fancy Footwork

Image credit: Lesia Trubat
From Entrepreneur Magazine

Ballet is an exquisite, ephemeral expression. A dancer’s delicate footwork vanishes into thin air as quickly as it’s created, but it doesn’t have to. Not anymore.

Enter a pair of “smart” shoes you probably never expected: A sensor-laden pair of E-Traces ballet shoes strapped to a ballerina’s fancy feet. They’re smart pointe slippers that literally transform ballet into art in motion.  They capture dancers’ footwork — every landing, twirl and sweep of the floor.  Then transform it into vibrant, multicolor digital drawings and images.   This allows the dancer to use pictures  as art or a way to watch their skills and improbe their techniques.    

What About a Backpack for Bike Riders that let’s people know if they are stopping, turning or riding straight.

Lee Myung Su | SEIL Backpack uses LED lights to display traffic signals | http://www.leemyungsu.com/

How About Adhering Your IPhone to Your Wrist Instead of carrying the device around

Wow ! I've read an article where we can use our skin as a touchscreen for our smartphone. There is no need to use the device. We can just wear the device to our skin talk and text accordingly without any trouble or any itching sensation to the skin. Some doctors are saying that it might cause cancer but thorough investigation was performed in the lab and decided it is not a cancer causing agent. The article did not mention about the audio. That might become a intelligent question

That’s right, you synch this patch to your body and can use it with all the features of your smartphone.


There are also sensors that can go under the skin called bio-sensors.  These can have a number of functions from tracking to health management.  One company Profuse has solves the biggest challenge for this technology … having the body accept vs reject this foreign element from the body.  This innovation will advanced this technology quickly.  Since it is so unobtrusive, it can create great benefit without having to re-administer or download information.  It will simply transmit from the min-device.

Image result for sensors under the skin

There are also a ton that are related to medical or safety purposes, including a smart Band-Aid,  but the ones above just struck me as cool and unusual.


Apparently people are also creating fabric that have purposes other than sparkling fashion.

A woman named Linda Worbin is experimenting with this idea.

One example is a thermo crymatic pillow that aids sleep for proper positioning not only for comfort but for restfulness.

Linda Worbin has been described as the creator of smart textiles. A graduate from Swedish School of Textiles in Boras, Sweden. She recently has been experimenting with smart and interactive textiles. This has involved amazing "thermo chromic textile displays to electroluminescent pillows and textiles" as shown above.

Can’t forget the pets  … This is the Disco Dog

Image result for disco-dog--canine wearable technology

Saw this on Kickstarter … Disco Dog is the world’s first smartphone controlled LED dog vest. It displays a variety of animated patterns and custom scrolling text in thousands of colors. It’s a fun way to celebrate your dog, and also keeps her visible and safe when it’s dark out. If your dog runs too far away and the connection is lost, the vest will show an automatic “LOST DOG” message, asking bystanders to help the lost pup find her way back.

PreVue Pregnancy Textile Devide Lets Mothers See Their Babies Grow

PreVue Pregnancy eTextile Device Lets Mothers See Their Baby Grow ... see more at Inventorspot.com

If they had this when I was pregnant, I’d never sleep, work or anything.  I’d be watching all day, 24 hours a day.


Fashion looks at wearable technologies combining all the ideas above plus design that is structured or visible in uncommon ways.   Here are 3 noteworthy ideas …

Celebs are doing it.

Some Consider Structured Futuristic Fashion a Wearable Technology.
JOJO POST FASHION: wearable technology. Modern, Insane Cyberpunk Hair, futuristi