Program Accepted: Design Exhibition

ISWC 2019 12th Annual Design Exhibition

The ISWC design exhibition is a peer-reviewed collection of current design work from practitioners embedded in many disciplines, within three categories:

Aesthetic Design
The Aesthetic Design category focuses on development or application of technology that emphasizes aesthetics and concept. Aesthetic designs may be focused on contributions such as style, the relationship of a visual product to the Zeitgeist of a society, or conceptual aspects of wearing technology.

Functional Design
This category explores the innovative use of wearable technologies to meet a specific need. Functional designs may be focused on contributions such as the innovative use of technology, ergonomics, or technical implementation.

Fiber Arts
Smart fabrics and interactive textiles are fields that intersect in many instances with wearable technologies. Fiber Arts designers push the boundaries of what is possible using all kinds of machinery and materials. The building blocks on which future wearable innovation is founded.

This year's exhibition is organised and curated by Design Exhibition Chairs, Rain Ashford, Goldsmiths University of London, UK and Oscar Tomico, Eindhoven University of Technology, NL and ELISAVA, Spain.

Chair's statement: in the past, wearable technologies were seen as part of the realm of computing and electronics engineering. However, in recent years we have witnessed a convergence with functional textiles, digital production, smart materials and bio-materials. The wearables we are presenting at the 12th Annual ISWC Design Exhibition combine one or more of the above areas. For this reason we would like to use the exhibition as the perfect context to have a debate on "what is wearable technology today?" These discussions will be held on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th September, 5-6pm at the exhibition area in the Cambridge Room. A drinks reception and prizes for the best in category will take place on Thursday 12th September 6-7:30pm by the exhibits.

  1. Rain Ashford
    Rain Ashford

    Goldsmiths University of London

  2. Oscar Tomico Plasencia
    Oscar Tomico Plasencia

    Eindhoven University of Technology

Overview of Accepted Exhibits

Aesthetic Category

Awareness Jacket: EMF-shielding garment

The project Awareness Jacket attempts to highlight the importance of the sense of awareness. The relationship between the input received by sensory organs and a person’s perceived state of awareness is explored. A person’s own awareness of their senses and how the sensory organs tune in to different inputs directly relate to their state of awareness. How can awareness be measured? How can people feel and measure what we experience? Can a person objectively assess how they feel? Scrolling on our mobile devices and refreshing the home page have become a modern day addiction. Waking up to mobile devices alarms, the human day now begins with holding the device in our hand and scrolling followed by hours in front of the mirror for the perfect selfie. These behavioral patterns on mobile devices can become physical, with people reporting being affected by not only internet addiction, but also by the radio frequencies these technologies employ. This project offers a choice to the user to be more in control of when they are connected or when they want to disconnect. It is about reconnecting with one’s senses in order to enhance the sense of awareness.

“The Awareness Jacket incorporates technical textiles and technology to limit radio frequencies and block mobile phone signals”

Linn Dress: Enabling a Dynamically Adjustable Neckline

We present the design and prototype of the Linn Dress, a transforming dress that allows its wearer to dynamically reveal and conceal areas of skin, as they feel comfortable and appropriate for different contexts. Electrochromic displays are employed as the elements enabling the garment’s dynamic transparency. The Linn Dress is designed for office workers with a lively lifestyle, who shift directly from the work environment to social evening events. The dress presents professional working attire, and when transformed to reveal exciting open cuts and patterns, a cocktail dress.

"Linn Dress is designed to be worn on a daily basis. Attached technology offers a new potential, but does not interfere with its organic look."

DualSkin: Ambient Electric Field Sensing Wearable

Humans are capable of identifying and categorizing objects in their environment with the aid of their sensory organs. DualSkin is a wearable which equips the user with ambient electroreception (electric field sensing). The aim of the project is to develop a new sense that will increase peripersonal space, alter the human perception and their relationship between electronic, organic and inorganic objects that surrounds our lives. DualSkin is a vest that consists of embedded capacitive sensors and a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device in the form of textiles, conductive thread, electrolyte pads, and 3D printed holders. The garment is divided into four sections that are covered by woven conductive textile patches and these patches are connected to the capacitive sensor by a conductive thread. The TENS device creates electrical stimulation around the user's waist in direct relation to the electrical fields surrounding the user. Using electrical stimulation as a pseudo-haptic feedback mechanism offers a unique feeling that cannot be confused with a motor generated haptic feelings.

“Utilizing capacitive sensors and TENS actuators on the body to alter our own sensory experience of environments, species and machines”

Syn(es)thetic Reality: Simulating Synesthesia for Non-Synesthetic

Syn(es)thetic Reality explores a new way of sensing the world by understanding sounds through colors. It looks to simulate projective chromesthesia, an experience of seeing colors involuntarily as a result of sound input. The project achieves this through an augmented reality web application to be run on mobile phones via a wearable device. By displaying audio-based color content composited over the camera feed, the user’s visual perception is altered to reflect their auditory perception. The basic principle is to correlate sound frequencies to hue and amplitude to saturation and visualise these colors creatively.

“The Syn(es)thetic Reality systems utilizes common technology in a wearable format to augment a user’s regular notion of reality to a synesthetic experience”

Digital Craftsmanship: In the Wearable Senses Lab

Wearable and e-textiles as a field has tended to overlook its own documentation, as notions and overarching ideas are developed over time and across individual projects. We would like to begin addressing this by charting the development of Digital Craftsmanship through a number of projects over time. Practically, we propose to show a small selection of garments and samples alongside a simple framework for future documentation of work.

”Programming the garment in terms of its material, form, production, level of personalisation, and associated services”

ChakraSuit: Experimental Directed Meditation Wearable

Many people believe that the secret code of happiness is maintaining both physical and mental health. Statistics show the opposite is also true: there is a strong correlation between depression and poor physical health. In Buddhist philosophy the mind is considered to be a sense organ and it is believed that by practising meditation we can cure our body. In this era of continually connected technology it can be difficult to find an environment suitable for meditation and free of distractions. The aim of this project is to improve the quality of meditation by allowing the user to discover interaction between natural environments, sounds, and the human body. ChakraSuit is an experimental wearable which aids in finding the best location for meditation, enabling one to learn about the interaction between the natural environment, sound, and the body. The prototype continuously listens to ambient sounds, and translates the identified audio frequencies to vibration on several points along the spine which correspond to chakra points.

“Chakra Suit allows technology be worn, measuring the environment and sound frequencies in order to augment the wearers inner and environmental unity”

Mandelbrot: Algorithmic Fashion Aesthetics

The lack of real innovation is one of the problems the fashion system suffers from. In Mandelbrot, we modified a mathematical principle so that it can be applied in fashion design. This principle is the most famous fractal: Mandelbrot. We present 2 garments based on modified Mandelbrot principles. The lemniscates lines are used as the stitching seams to create interesting volumes. The garments are realized via an alternating process between sublimation printing, traditional draping, first-person on-body fitting, pinning, stitching, hand cutting, digital pattern making and laser cutting. Via this work we hope to inspire fashion designers to apply more interesting and innovative methods to develop their fashion lines in innovative manners. This is an interesting look at how data can be used to develop aesthetics and forms for used in fashion design, an example of wearable algorithms.

“Mandelbrot is an example of wearable algorithms. In the future this might enable advanced production processes for wearable technology”

Touch Mood: GSR and FITI Enabled Wearable

It is easy to most humans to communicate with one another, however what is said isn’t always what is meant or intended. Knowing what a person is truly feeling is difficult, and simple misinterpretations can result in missed opportunities. Can we use technology to take advantage of our relationships? Can technology be used to augment our empathy for each other? Accurate identification of people's emotional state is of great significance for interpersonal communication, human-computer interaction (HCI), and medical devices. Combining devices which can measure Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and Thermal Cameras, we can obtain the skin electrical signal and the temperature of a specific area of the human body as a composite reading of a person’s emotional state. The Touch Mood system allows can give real-time feedback of the subject’s emotional state via the embedded RGB LEDs and nitinol wire enabled transforming fabric array.

“The bespoke three piece garment advances sensory awareness of certain attributes of other people”

Functional Category

AWE Goosebumps: Emotional Prosthesis for Animating Awe through Performative Biofeedback

Awe is a heightened emotional state of fear and wonder that creates a physiological response resulting in a cascade of hairs standing on end, also known as piloerection or goosebumps. This latent sense once served an animalian purpose of survival, but now lies dormant and is often not experienced consciously. In fact, 55 percent of the population reports to not feel this sensation that is noted to be healthy. The AWE Goosebumps artifact is an emotion prosthesis that animates the latent sensation of awe for embodiment and externalizes cues for communication. As the sensation is not experienced consciously, the techno fashion invites an opportunity to be a second skin for frisson biofeedback, behavior training, and expression to others as a tool to transform the doldrums of modern day to performative states of wonder.

“Sensoree therapeutic biomedia are biosensors that translate how one is feeling in real-time tangible displays”

Novel Haptic Experiences: Iterative Design & Development of Remotely-Controllable, Dynamic Compression Garment

This work encompasses the design and development of garment-based shape memory alloy (SMA) compression technology that is dynamic, low-mass, and remotely controllable. Three garment design iterations are presented, consolidated from past user studies. The designed garment system has potential to serve as a research tool for understanding parameters necessary to create a desired compression haptic experience; for broadening the scope of medical/clinical interventions; as well as for enabling new modes of interaction between users separated by distance, especially in areas such as tele-rehabilitation and social mediated touch.

“These garments -- with integrated sensing, computation, and actuation capabilities -- will fundamentally change one’s experience and relationship with their clothing”

VitaBoot: Footwear with Dynamic Graphical Patterning

VitaBoot is a footwear concept incorporating dynamic graphical patterns which indicate the wearer's activity level. Whilst shoes are an important element in fashion wear and a lot of research has focused on shoes as input devices, comparable few concepts have explored the potential for their use as an output space. We created a boot design that incorporates dynamic patterning through the use of electrochromic (EC) displays embedded in the surface material. The boot was designed and constructed from scratch, using a faux leather material, ensuring the overall aesthetic of the design, including the integration of the required control electronics and power source. The boot connects wirelessly to a chest-worn heart rate belt, and pattern changes indicate when the wearer's heart rate is above a predefined threshold. VitaBoot demonstrates the potential for dynamic shoe patterning for aesthetic or functional means, and the suitability of flexible, low-power EC display technology in this domain.

“Future smart clothing will focus on dynamic aesthetics, with functionality (if present) taking second place”

Telesuit: Design and Implementation of An Immersive User-Centric Telepresence Control Suit

Telepresence takes place when a user is afforded with the experience of being in a remote environment or a virtual world, through the use of immersive technologies. We present Telesuit - a full-body telepresence control system used to operate a humanoid telepresence robot. The suit is part of a broader system that takes into consideration the physical constraints of controlling a dexterous bimanual robotic torso, and the need for modular hardware and software that allow for high-fidelity immersiveness. It incorporates a health monitoring system that allows the robotic platform to leverage information such as respiratory effort, galvanic skin response, and heart rate, to adjust the telepresence experience and apply control modalities that automate certain tasks. Furthermore, the design of the Telesuit’s garment considers both functionality and aesthetics and sets preface for future implementations of wear-able telepresence control systems that integrate into the Internet of Actions (IoA) - allowing operators to interchangeably transition between the physical world and mixed-reality or virtual worlds.

“A fashionable tech-driven garment that allows users to sense and immersively operate physical robotic avatars, as well take part in VR experiences”

Underlying Super Hero: A Wearable Therapy & Tech. Garment for Kids

Children today live in a fast-paced, ever-changing and sensory overloaded society. With anxiety and depression in children becoming more present within today’s youth, the need to address these concerns including increased health and behavioral issues are imperative. Giving children the right tools to combat these conditions and potentially dangerous disorders will help them traverse their daily lives while assisting them with their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Fabric and clothing can make a big difference in a child’s life and apparel can be used to help reduce stress and anxiety disorders through functional garments in a way that can contribute to a happier, healthier, and reduced stress childhood. Hugs have been proven to reduce anxiety, therefore, compression that simulates that feeling has a positive effect on children. Compression garments exist for children, however, how can these garments be elevated with functional wearable technology, and design aesthetic to incorporate fun, kid-friendly design elements that create body positivity and well-being.

”Performance fabrication such as compression along with garment construction and technological features like slight vibrations make this garment functional in a multitude of ways”

Fibre Arts Category

Listening Space: Satellite Ikats

Listening Space is an artistic research that was born during the eTextile Spring Break camp that took place in upstate New York at the beginning of April 2019. Following their previous explorations of ecologies of transmissions and wanting to experiment with Software-Defined Radio, the authors, setup a DIY satellite tracking station and aimed at intercepting the NOAA weather satellite audiovisual transmissions. During the course of three days, they observed five satellite passes, intercepted successfully three transmissions and decoded the audio signals into images which they later knitted in order to create a textile archive of the transmissions. Conceptually the project seeks to explore transmissions ecologies as raw material for artistic exploration, to understand and re-imagine in poetic means, representations of audio and images broadcasted from space, while regarding knitted textiles as a physical medium for memory storage and archiving.

“Listening Space is created using computational crafting techniques. It involves data driven knitting embedded into the structure of the fabric itself”

Layered Embroidery: for Dynamic Aesthetics

We present an embroidery technique that allows for the creation of dynamic fabrics. These embroidered dynamic fabrics allow for the conceal and reveal of information or visuals based on different viewing angles and lighting conditions. Using this technique, fabrics and garments can be used to hide information and patterns. We explain how the technique works and provide technical details concerning the embroidery technique.

“Embroidery patterns are generated by a Processing program. These patterns create fabrics that shift in appearance depending on the viewing angle”

Myco-accessories: Sustainable & Biodegradable Wearables

This paper approaches sustainability in the prototyping process by producing wearables made of biodegradable materials for embedding electronics. We used mycelium, that, unlike other biodegradable materials such as kombucha, algae, or bioplastics, has heat resistance, thermal resistance and hydrophobic properties which makes it suitable to apply in wearables. Moreover, this paper proposes a sustainable life cycle that uses biodegradable materials to embed electronics. For example, we embedded an electronic circuit into mycelium skin to make accessories. After the accessories have been worn, the electronic components can be reused and the mycelium skin composted. Lastly, we present our method for growing mycelium, our design process using common techniques for embedding electronics, and myco-accessories as applications to envision the possibilities of using this material. This paper aims to encourage sustainable prototyping in the field of wearable technology by intertwining biomaterials and electronics.

"I use biomaterials in this field to demonstrate that it is possible to transition from common plastic based materials use to biodegradable wearables."