On Wearable Technology, Makers and Making


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A talk I gave at Makers' Guild, London on wearable technology. I discussed from some early examples of wearable tech, plus what's causing the present media hyperbole concerning ethics and privacy, and how Makers have been involved in wearable technology. I also show two examples of my own work.

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  • Protosnap LilyPad Arduino board & component kit
  • On Wearable Technology, Makers and Making

    1. 1. On Wearable Technology, Makers & Making Makers’ Guild, London, July 2013 Rain Ashford - http://rainycatz.wordpress.com
    2. 2. I create interactive wearables and art Images:RainAshford
    3. 3. 2013 has been the year of wearable technology!
    4. 4. Wearable technology is hugely diverse! areas include, medical, art, fashion, whimsical, sensing, fun, practical, protective, interactive, military, energy, decorative, performance, energy harvesting, communicating, space, music and lots more… Images: K1 Smart Watch, LED Eyelash made by Soomi Park, Electronic Tattoo by John A Rogers/Uni of Illinois, Microsoft Printing Dress, Embedded electronics fibre by Nottingham Trent Universit SLIVER cells by Australian National University, Remote Control T-Shirt by Rebecca Albrand Fitbit & personal tracking page& Mindwave project by Rain Ashford, 3D printed shoes & garment by Iris van Herpen, Pebble e-ink watches.
    5. 5. But extensions of the body, including wearable tech, have been around for much longer.. Image: Titus Carisius, 46 BC coin Vulcan over anvil, tongs and hammer flanking, all within laurel wreath by Carlo Morino Image: Casio CFX-400C Scientific Caluculator Watch, 1985, by Magnus ManskeAbacus rings were around in Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), photo by Latca (Flickr) Computerised timing devive to predict and cheat at rouletter by Edward O Thorpe and Claude Shannon in 1961
    6. 6. ..but until fairly recently wearable technology was heavy, angular, clunky or other wordly! Wearable Wireless Webcam, Steve Man, 1994 Person with a head-mounted display (HMD), wired glove and joystick. Image: NASA MannGlass Welding HelmetPhillips SKIN ‘Bubble’ dress
    7. 7. The miniaturisation of technology has changed how people build & use wearable tech & electronics; they’re no longer comprised of cold, bulky sharp, boxy or ugly components that you might prefer to remain hidden Image: Steve Mann
    8. 8. Though there’s no escaping that wearable tech is influenced by science fiction Images: Robocop DVD cover, pic by Plamdi, BSG motivational poster by thegreatgeekmanual RobotWearableCop Venn diagram, derivitive repurposed by Rain Ashford, original by GraphJam, Robocop Minis pic by infelix
    9. 9. ..some interesting wearable tech has come out of it! Images: Jean-Luc Picard as Borg Locutus by El Carlos / TriViso HMD 2012 image by Rain Ashford Images: Star Trek Tricorder & Peter Jansen’s Tricorder Project Mk2, Lt Uhura Paramount Pictures, Jawbone headset uncredited image
    10. 10. ..there’s still a fear of technology, machines, cyborgs, robots, etc. “Let’s just hope that they all don’t show up at once.“ Anon Image: unknown author / popular culture
    11. 11. The convergence and miniturisation of computing and communications tech means we’ll all be wearing our phones soon! Image: Pinterest Possibly a little more discreetly!
    12. 12. According to the media hype, Wearable Technology looks like.. Image: Antonio Zulgaldia
    13. 13. ..also back to the future with smart watches! Images: Watch, Tw810 Watch, MQ998 Cell Phone Watch, I’m Watch, K1 Camera Wrist Watch Phone, MW08 Waterproof Watch, Pebble e-ink watch, Nike+ GPS Watch, Sony Liveview, Sony MN2SW and Kreyos Smartwatch
    14. 14. ..and they’re all trying to guess what this one looks like! Images: GarRobMil & Paul Deneve Image: Courtesy Photo ..are Apple starting to take wearable technology seriously?
    15. 15. Crikey, what’s all this lifeglogging, lifelogging, augmented reality, data, veillance, surveillance, sousvellance, McVeillance? Images: Steve Mann & Eyetap, Google Glass, Glass Up & Lumus Optical Steve Mann’s LifeGlogging sensorcam, Microsoft SenseCam, Mann, Fung & Lo cam & Memoto ..some of us feel this wearable tech is a bit familiar!
    16. 16. Image: Stop The Cyborgs Campaign SAY WHAT? ..we’re still sorting out some of our etiquette to wearable tech / lifelogging
    17. 17. Image: Twinkle Tartiflette, Rain Ashford What qualities might people look for in wearable tech?  Designed for individuals – have elegance and style  Comfortable to wear – both in terms of weight/texture, but also don’t make us self concious  Don’t stigmatise – re-assess assistive devices such as alarms  Fun and useful  Easy to use  Meaningful  Control of their own data!
    18. 18. At a similar time to Quantified Self movement, Maker & Hacker communities has been great for bringing together artists, tinkerers, designers, coders, crafters and engineers!
    19. 19. ..a convergence of readily available electronic components, shared knowledge through communities and open source approaches to technology has broken barriers to learning & creativity
    20. 20. ..plus due to communties & individuals interested in sharing knowledge there’s lots of information out there to help you make your own! Images: screenshots from: Today I found Out, MIT Crafting Material Interfaces, Kobekant, Lynne Bruning, Instructables
    21. 21. For me, the availability of sewable electronic & e-textiles has revolutionised the way I and many artists & designers work… Images: LilyPad Arduino + accessories, Adafruit Flora pics by Rain Ashford, LilyPad Dev kit by Protosnap, Sensors: Seeed Studio & Sparkfun
    22. 22. ..plus the styling of some of these components has made them more attractive to work with
    23. 23. ..don’t forget you can use other microcontrollers and components for wearable tech! Images: Shrimp kit, mbed, ATtiny85 and arduino Uno, pics by Rain Ashford
    24. 24. Makers are also great teachers and knowledge sharers! Ideas and work examples from Wearable Technology half day workshop & three-day Easter bootcamp.  8-16 year-old students loved how they could personalise and control electronics very quickly!  Wearable tech is a great vector for getting more girls and boys interested in STEM subjects!
    25. 25. Wearable tech gives many a way into coding and Electronics that is of interest to them.
    26. 26. Images: Colours of Birch glasses, Iris Van Herpen shoes & garment, Shapeways and Continuum Fashion bikini, Andreia Chaves’s Invisible Shoe, Mesh purse by Vertigopolka, Dita Dress by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti, pic by Albert Sanchez, EEG Visualising Pendant frame viewed on Shapeways by Rain Ashford, Cortex Arm Exoskeleton by Jake Evil & Cortex Cast Systems It’s not just fabrics based garments - 3D printing is going to radically change how we design and create, wearable tech is no exception!
    27. 27. Images: Makers & Hackers 2009, Sound Spark by Eric Boyd, pics Rain Ashford Some qualities Makers bring to wearable technology:  Imagination and ideas  Innovation  Crossover skills in creativity and technology – wearable tech needs designers and technologists to talk  Willing to experiment  Share ideas and knowledge rather than work in secrecy / slap patents on everything  Work with others  Open Source ethos = transparency and openness  Pass on skills / teach others
    28. 28. I’m an avid self-tracker and fan of sensors! Images: Rain Ashford
    29. 29. I use all sorts of sensors… EEG (Electroencephalography), GSR (Galvanic Skin Response), magnometer, temperature, proximity, light, movement, barometric (temp, altitude, pressure) Images: Sensors: Seeed Studio & Sparkfun, MindWave Mobile, Rain Ashford
    30. 30. …I enjoy incorporating the technology into the design Images: Rain Ashford
    31. 31. Soldering whilst wearing Necomimi brainwave cat ears I’m interested in…  Social interaction – formal and informal events where one is put on the spot/ excruciating circumstances: networking, bars, clubs, meet ups, introductions, conferences, etc. Building multi-sensor wearables which output data on the wearer’s physiological signs comprised of various components such as:  a logging device  sensors – tracking physiological signs: EEG, GSR, heart rate, accelerometer, temperature, etc.  Actuators  C code / algorithms To be…  Visually reactive  Sonically reactive  Might record sound / display feedback from user  camera Images: Rain Ashford
    32. 32. Baroesque Barometric Skirt Images: Rain Ashford
    33. 33. Baroesque Barometric Skirt: pattern & sewing Images: Rain Ashford
    34. 34. Baroesque Barometric Skirt: design & painting Influences: Japanese painting / Okami game characters Images: Rain Ashford
    35. 35. Baroesque Barometric Skirt: circuit prototyping Images: Rain Ashford
    36. 36. Baroesque Barometric Skirt: breadboard to stripboard Images: Rain Ashford
    37. 37. Baroesque Barometric Skirt: detachable electronics apron Images: Rain Ashford
    38. 38. Baroesque Barometric Skirt Sensors: Images: Rain Ashford  Pressure  Altitude  Environment temp  My temp °C (Celcius), Pa (Pascal) and m (meter)
    39. 39. Images: Rain Ashford Displays environmental & physiological data °C (Celcius), Pa (Pascal) and m (meter) Baroesque Barometric Skirt (Low) Blue / Cyan / White / Green / Yellow / Magenta / Red (High)
    40. 40. Images: Rain Ashford Displays environmental & physiological data °C (Celcius), Pa (Pascal) and m (meter) Baroesque Barometric Skirt: Code
    41. 41. Images: Rain Ashford Displays environmental & physiological data °C (Celcius), Pa (Pascal) and m (meter)Baroesque Barometric Skirt: data
    42. 42. Baroesque Barometric Skirt: Challenges  Design of skirt  Choice of fabric  Weight of components  Batteries: weight & longevity  Design of code / algorithm  Washability  Design of circuitry & craft of electronics  Flexibility of RGB LED strip  Extraction & visualisation of meaningful data  Aesthetics of garment & electronics Image: Rain Ashford
    43. 43. Necomimi brainwave cat ears ..practicing manipulating concentration / meditation Images: Rain Ashford Working with EEG (Electroencephalography)
    44. 44. NeuroSky Mindwave Mobile headset Images: Rain Ashford
    45. 45. EEG bar-graph prototyping Images: Rain Ashford
    46. 46. EEG LED matrix prototyping Images: Rain Ashford
    47. 47. EEG Visualising Pendant Images: Rain Ashford
    48. 48. EEG Visualising Data Pendant: Challenges  Finding info on a proprietary device (skant in 2012)  Design of code / algorithm  Design of circuitry & craft of electronics  Reliability of data via Bluetooth  Form factor for a necklace  How & what to visualise  Weight of components  Batteries: weight & longevity  Extraction & visualisation of meaningful data  Aesthetics of necklace & components  Who is this for? Image: Rain Ashford
    49. 49. Thank you for your attention! @Rainycat http://rainycatz.wordpress.com Rain Ashford 2013