智能衣着让你拥有“可穿戴音乐”

上网时间: 2014年07月31日? 作者:Jessica Lipsky? 我来评论 【字号: ? ?小】

关键字:智能衣着? 可穿戴技术? 声音织物?

Wearables Sing in Smart Clothes

Weaving sound into a poncho

Jessica Lipsky

NEW YORK – The future of mainstream wearable technology may be driven by the fashion industry, keynoters at the Wearable Tech Expo said. Researcher Sabine Seymour suggested ways music and audio could become central to the success of smart clothes, but said chip makers need to find and embrace cloth-friendly materials to enable this emerging opportunity.

Seymour told EE Times:

Music is a very strong and appealing trend, just look at starting in the 70s when people were walking around with boom boxes. In New York City on the subway, almost every third person has headphones on, you constantly want to create your own sound. You can use sound in a sporting situation where you want to create your own activity, or shut out the sound of a polluted city. You associate music and sound with a lot of memories, I think sound is a very, very appealing actuation.

As the founder of Moondial, a consulting and research firm, Seymour has focused on the use of music in fabric and garments in the fashion industry and for larger companies such as Siemens, VF Corporation, and General Electric. At the Expo, held July 22-24 in Manhattan, Seymour detailed her vision for the future of wearables and showcased music-based garments.

Aiming to create a perfume of sounds rather than smells, she collaborated with a European fashion studio and Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna to develop sonic fabric. The result was a poncho with a variety of closures, each of which made a different sound and buttons that doubled as speakers.

Ricardo Onascimento's harp cape with sonic fabric.

(Source: Onascimento)

"This triggers a lot of interesting thought processes for me in what can you do to enhance [the garment] for the wearer. Every single closure is creating a part of a soundtrack. Depending on which closure, you can control your own soundscape," Seymour said, adding that she initially hoped garments would be connected to smartphones. She continued:

When you zip up your pants, you close your pants and close the circuit. Whenever I close something, I create a circuit and am able to actuate or sense. If we also think about the hook, the button, the loop, everything we use in our garments. It’s important to me that technology is seamless, invisible. You’re only aware of it when you need it.

Moondial and Bless, the Paris/Berlin-based studio responsible for the poncho, and Popkalab took the sonic fabric a step further to create the installation BLESS No45 Soundperfume. The installation made an interactive sonic scape from articles of clothing and accessories; people would walk through a curtain where various pieces of fabric controlled the exhibit’s volume and sound.

BLESS N°45 Soundperfume curtain for Popkalab.

(Source: Moondial)

Although Seymour has helped curate many exhibits and develop a variety of ensembles, she said the industry has a long way to go before wearable fashion takes off. Processors need to be seamlessly integrated into a garment and go beyond conductive thread. Charging infrastructure needs to improve, and higher standards for broadband and wireless carriers are needed to handle large data sets that will be provided by a mass of wearables.

"Data is the easier piece to be solved in this puzzle. Data visualization is already a business in many ways, but imagine that going into the next phase. We need different apps, pieces of software that will evolve. I'm not too worried about the software factor, I'm more interested in hardware," Seymour said.

To that end, Seymour and her team at Moondial have founded a startup dedicated to producing "soft hardware" for smart garments.

Seymour said of her work at Moon Lab:

Currently in wearables we have a lot of small components, from a processor to sensors that are all very rigid, are too big... or, because of the necessity of some sort of wireless transfer, are very costly. We're creating soft components so they can be easily integrated. This goes beyond a conductive yarn; it gets literally into the nanoscale of things with components and flexibility, creating very specific tools and components that can be easily attached to garment manufacturing processes.

Major chip companies have yet to develop the secret sauce that would allow for soft, cloth-based smart material. Moon Labs hopes to develop material that is accessible to and intuitive for people who aren't engineers, creating a one-stop shop for high-tech fashion designers.

Researchers at Aalto University experiment with alternative fibers.

(Source: Mikko Raskinen)

As part of these efforts, Seymour is leading research into computational cellulose at Aalto University in Helsinki. A team of researchers developed a dress from birch cellulose fiber as an alternative to cotton, a process which Seymour described as "changing the molecular structure of the fiber itself or making fiber sensing and actuating."

Working with the fashion industry will be integral to the success of more “traditional” wearables such as smartwatches. In an interview with USA Today, Seymour said the two industries have completely different ways of operating, but must collaborate if smartwatches are to become mainstream.

While this sort of high-tech fashion is at least three years away, Seymour is doing research on the psychology of technology to better understand the thoughts behind wearing technology.

"Is it related to ergonomics, to privacy, to health, to the ability to control? There are a lot of different things, different pockets, that may not have to do with technology per se, but more the social science around it and the aesthetics [of wearables]," she said. "The technology is important, but only to a certain point."

Seymour expects to see many choices for consumer-grade wearable clothes in the future. A consumer looking for a fall coat could, eventually, program a basic jacket to suit his needs.

Nano materials added to denim could be programmed to shrink whenever jeans feel loose.

(Source: Hilmar Mulder)

"What's going to happen is we're going to have modular code so you can buy a piece of code like you buy shoes, you can choose which functionality you want," she said. "It will be one technology they can slap on to something."


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