Chatting live (from Linz) with Sabine Seymour

My class was EXTREMELY fortunate to have the internationally recognized curator of wearables, and the author of the well received book Fashionable Technology, Sabine Seymour speaking live from Linz with us a couple weeks ago.

Here’s a bit about her work, along with other designers who exploring wearable technology.

Live from Linz, Sabine Seymour!

Live from Linz, Sabine Seymour!

By using Skype, our class was able to chat with the lovely Sabine for a good hour. She was extremely helpful and gave us an insight to what the international interactive wearable industry is like currently, and how she came to be the powerhouse and globally respected figure of this innovative and progressing study.

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Scrapbooking Your Memory

Microsofts SenseCam
Microsoft’s SenseCam

“There are currently around 700,000 people suffering from dementia in the UK, highlighting the significance and urgency of finding solutions that will assist people to cope with this debilitating condition.

Microsoft Research Cambridge has been working to develop a wearable digital camera, designed to take photographs passively, on a timer (for example every 30 seconds). The device captures everything the wearer views and by transferring the data to a computerised photo playback facility the wearer is able to review images that helps to enhance the recall of specific events or activities…” – http://www.activeage.org

Though most of us only suffer memory loss with simple domestic issues such as losing our car keys or cellphones, developer Lyndsay Williams has explored a very powerful area of study that would help thousands of people with dementia and sensory disablement.  Though the aesthetics could use a little work, the ideology has potential to become an interactive wearable that could revolutionize  the way we remember and experience surroundings.

Here are some ways that people have been using them to view their (or whatever) interaction with the world:

If your homeless and you know it, stuff your jacket!

Designer Lida Baday + Creative Director Steve Mykolyn

Designer Lida Baday + Creative Director Steve Mykolyn

Imagine its 15 below 0 degrees Celsius, and your out on the streets… While the majority of North America’s population just throw on the layers, the homeless literally freeze to death. The only resources that are readily available are discarded newspapers and tabloids that they stuff in their tattered sweaters.

The jacket is stuffed into a pack for easy handling and transportation

The jacket is stuffed into a pack for easy handling and transportation

Canadian designer Lida Balady is more known in the fashion circuit for her clothing line sold in Hot Renfrew, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue. But last year she was given a challenge she couldn’t refuse; to design a street wear jacket for the homeless

“In 2007, TAXI celebrated 15 years of success. To mark the occasion, they wanted a big idea, one that would give back to the community. The brief was sent out, and executive creative director, Steve Mykolyn, came back with The 15 Below Project. Its first initiative – a jacket for the homeless.

The jacket would be breathable, waterproof, lightweight, and the lining would be made up of pockets throughout. And these pockets would be able to be stuffed with newspaper to provide adjustable levels of insulation from the cold. “We’ve survived 15 years, now we’re going to help others survive the night,” said Mykolyn, who enlisted long-time friend and designer, Lida Baday, to create the jacket.

Adding weight to the 15-year theme, as well as lending the project a name, is the Cold Weather Alert many cities issue when the temperature drops to -15ºC.”

15 Below is an example of good designing that inspires and motivates my expectations within my own design practice.

For more info visit their web page: http://15belowproject.org

Wearable Sounds

Sakurako Shimizus soundwave jewlery

Sakurako Shimizu's soundwave jewlery

“Waveform Series is the laser-cut shapes of the waveform of the sound in sound editing software environment. I used some human sound such as yawn, atchoum, giggle, wow, and the sound of church bell.” – Sakurako Shimizu

Most of us use jewelery as a form of self expression. Shimizu has created a way to visually communicate sound and speech in a very elegant and appealing manner, and has taken adornment to another level by making it more personal and unique.


By using common sounds such as giggles and yawns, the piece of adornment describes the wearer and gives the material character.

I Do Wedding Band in Palladium and 18K Yellow Gold

"I Do" Wedding Band in Palladium and 18K Yellow Gold

I found by adding this other element of personalization to jewelery that Shimizu has explored is a much more socially sustainable way of designing. It just adds so much more purpose and value to the item.

They say that smell is one of the strongest senses that we possess that triggers memory and emotions.

As a study of aroma delivery,  ‘Scentient Being’ embraces the function of smell and the impact it has on health and wellbeing.  The project embraces fashion design as a more interactive and constructive area of study.

The dress itself is designed to imitate the body’s circulation system, senses, and scent glands. By comparing fabric to skin, the fabric becomes interactive by emitting it’s own personal scent symphony that is altered by the wearer’s emotions.

Motivated by a quote from J.G Ballard and the mechanics of the human body, Smart Second Skin acts as a new emotional layer: “Fashion is the recognition that nature has endowed us with one skin too few, that a fully sentient being should wear its nervous system externally”.

For more information, visit http://www.smartsecondskin.com

Alright, so I never did find out how to change the text, but really the one that is currently up really isn’t too bad…

So as of right now, I am trying to figure out how to combine two of my courses this semester; one being my main core class that deals with medical and assistive product designing, and the other which is my interactive wearables course that this blog was initially made for.

I will be co-designing with a woman who is wheelchair bound due to Polio, and who is very interested in finding a solution to making her wardrobe changes more efficient and less obstructive in her daily routines. I have yet to meet her and really get into the thick of things, but am ecstatic and just about jumping off the walls at the thought of where this all could go. The potential learning outcomes that these two courses are teeming with that will support this collaborative project are truly goose-bump worthy. I’m hoping to put some photos up soon of one of my exercises for my Core Med class where I had to be somehow disabled for three days.

Also there will be some photos up of a tour I had of GF Strong, and some of my past work I have done concerning wearables and technology.

Stay tuned…

Hello world!

Well I have finally given in and have started a blog.  I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to get one going, but in all fairness, starting a blog can seem like a commitment and slightly daunting to those of us who don’t believe writing is their forte.

To be honest, I really had no choice in this matter since it is a mandatory assignment for my Digital Projects class (More about that course later…).  Ah well, this is basically a “test” post to see if I’m understanding this blogging business… Now to figure out how to change this ugly text…

– A.