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Introduction to Wearable Technology for Creatives


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A talk I gave at OpenGDNM on wearable technology, sensors, actuators, LilyPad Arduino, Maker / Hacker Culture, some examples of wearable tech, plus summary round-up on the present state of wearable technology

Published in: Technology, Business

Introduction to Wearable Technology for Creatives

  1. 1. Introduction to Wearable Technology for Creatives Rain Ashford Dept. Of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London
  2. 2. Agenda Hello! In the beginning… Some favourite examples of wearable technology Maker and Hacker culture’s influence Sewable electronics: LilyPad Arduino Sensors & actuators Three examples of my work Summary points on wearable technology
  3. 3. Hello, my name is Rain and I create interactive wearables and art, working withmany flavours of microcontrollers & various components…
  4. 4. In the beginning…Wearable technology of yore: heavy, messy, angular & clunky
  5. 5. Beam me up Scotty…..sci-fi has a lot to answer for!
  6. 6. But we’re moving on from when wearable techevoked thoughts of axe grinding cyborgs, serfrobots, toasters and space pirates…
  7. 7. Meanwhile in real life…The miniaturization of technology has changed how people build & use wearable tech &electronics; they’re no longer comprised of cold, bulky sharp, boxy & ugly components thatyou might prefer to remain hidden
  8. 8. Wearable technology is a diverse area,and can be fashionable, whimsical, fun,practical, arty, serious, protective,interactive, sensing, medical, energyharvesting, communicating,musical and lots more…
  9. 9. Some favourite examples of wearable technology…Sensing: Clothing by Rainbow Winters: ‘Polymer Opal’ Lycra Dress Mondrian & Pettal Dress: thermochromatic reactive to light, colour changing inks Thunderstorm Dress: lights up to sound
  10. 10. Energy Harvesting: clothing Energy harnessing space suits, NASA Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology initiative In-shoe device: University of Wisconsin- Madison An in-shoe device designed to harvest the The suits incorporate piezoelectric zinc- energy that is created by walking, and oxide nanowires which creates a charge store it for use in mobile electronic devices in response to physical strain like bending or twisting, which could be used to charge the suit’s electronics
  11. 11. Medical: Epidermal Electronics 1960s wearable insulin pump Electronic tattoo, University of Illinois Monitors electrophysiological signals associated with the heart, other muscles and brain activity 2012 artificial pancreas & insulin pumps in development as shown by Gil de Paula of Pancreum at WT Conference 2012
  12. 12. 3D Printing: Fashion The first fully printed 3D bikini by Continuum Fashion, printed in nylon 12 and available to be printed to order from Continuum’s Shapeways shop The N12 was designed using Rhino 3D CAD software and specially written algorithmic script to create the structure of the 3D printed fabric. The algorithm uses a complex circle packing equation on an arbitrarily doubly curved surface (the bikini). Andreia Chaves’ printed shoes
  13. 13. Self Monitoring: wearable devicesA selection of wearable self-monitoringdevices initially made popular byQuantified Self movement, Fitbit, NikeFuel, NuMetrex, Wakemate, Zeo, Jawbone-UP, Philips, NeuroSky Mindwave
  14. 14. Hacker & Maker Culture’s influence on CreativityThe growth of hacker / maker culture & communities has inspired a new group of creatives toevolve and enter the tech industries
  15. 15. New Business Opportunities &Online Communities ..a convergence of readily available electronic components, shared knowledge through communities and open source approaches to technology has broken barriers to learning & creativity
  16. 16. Sewable ElectronicsFor me, the availability of sewable electronics & e-textiles has revolutionised the way I andmany other artists & designers work
  17. 17. the styling of some of these components has made them more attractive to work with
  18. 18. …allowing me create much moreelegant work
  19. 19. …incorporating the technology into thedesign
  20. 20. The LilyPad!Pin 1 - TX/D1Pins 2,3,4 - D2, D3, D4Pin 5 - GND or "-" (ground)Pin 6 - VCC or "+" (power)Pins 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 - D5 through to D13Pins 16,17,18,19,20,21 - A0 through to A5 (analog pins)
  21. 21. The Arduino IDE comes with access to tons of sketch libraries which are all opensource and easily downloadable into your editor to use as they are, or customiseto your specific needs and great for people just starting out with programming.
  22. 22. LilyPad ArduinoMicrocontrollerWhat I combine with it: Conductive Thread E-Textiles C (ish) Programming Sensors Actuators Hacked Electronics Conductive items To make: Wearables Sound Artworks Games All Interactive
  23. 23. Sensors…The availability of sensors in particular that allowed me to bring my ideas to fruition
  24. 24. DIY Sensors (and actuators)! there’s lots of information out there on how to make your own!
  25. 25. Components: Sensors vs. ActuatorsA sensor is an input device / an actuator an output deviceSensors Actuators Input: stimulus / A physical  Input: electrical signal - quantity, property, or current, voltage, phase, condition which is measured frequency, etc, Output: electrical signal -  Output: mechanical (force, current, voltage, phase, pressure, displacement) or frequency display function (light, display,Variations: output can dial indication, etc)sometimes be displacement:thermometers, magnetostrictiveand piezoelectric sensors.Some sensors combine sensing*and* actuation.
  26. 26. Actuators for wearable technology include… LEDs  Electroluminescent Wire LCD / OLED Display  Electroluminescent Servos Panels Motors Piezoelectric buzzers Speakers
  27. 27. Sensors for wearable technology include… Optical, Light & Sound  GPS Temperature & Humidity  Compass / magnetic field Energy Harvesting  Weight Radiation / Environment  Pressure / Force Heart Rate  RFID Proximity / object  Electric Current / detection Potential Gas & Liquid / Chemical  Touch Inertial  WiFi Biosensor  EEG
  28. 28. Sensors, actuators, industry and creatives - bringing it all together In my research I’m starting to note key areas of sensor & actuator usage, against groups & areas of usage…
  29. 29. Hacking existing tech & combining sensors has allowed me to make pieces such as‘You Make My <3 Flutter’: a proximity detecting, heart rate sensing ‘techlace’ visualisingphysical signs
  30. 30. And for looking at social interaction -‘Yr In Mah Face’: temperature /mood sensing t-shirt- uses Celsius temperature data from a sensor, averages it, then visualises the results viaLEDs.
  31. 31. I’m also interested in practical uses - Don’t Break My Heart is a wearable, colour-codeddistance warning system prototype for cyclists to wear on their back
  32. 32. LilyPad Arduino Microcontroller• Fabulousness • My wish list It’s sewable!  An industrial version It’s open source – you can find  Make it cheaper the Eagle files & free code  More modules please libraries online / with IDE  Different sizes and shapes of Good number of digital & board analogue I/O  Choice of microcontrollers Great vector for encouraging  Variable voltages girls/ boys /adults/ artists /anyone / to experience  More competitors, to increase electronics innovation (Flora, Seeedstudio) It’s round (dismisses the idea that  Development of washable electronics are sharp grey and conductive thread cold) Enthusiastic & helpful community
  33. 33. Summary: exciting time for e-textiles & wearable tech Availability of sewable electronics is revolutionising the work of artists & designers Self-monitoring movement i.e. Quantified Self is pushing wearable tech into the mainstream Hackspaces & online communities are helping demystify electronics & coding Open Source ethos is sharing & making knowledge more accessible Small Maker start-ups are changing the face of tech entrepreneurs Sewable electronics are inspiring a broader demographic to become interested in electronics & coding School age students are investigating electronics & code via e-textiles and wearable tech
  34. 34. Summary: wearable tech will be improved by Necessity for more standards and classifications Sustainability – recycling, reusing, repurposing - supply chain isn’t yet set up for wearable tech A lot of focus on the technology, but not enough on what the consumer wants: design, uses, size Marketing focus – sales, dissemination, tech know how - how do we help the public understand and use? Developments in battery / power supply tech: less bulky, better longevity, lighter, comfortable Washable circuits, sensors and microcontrollers – to gain acceptability they need robustness and logivity
  35. 35. Thank you for your attention! @Rainycat Rain Ashford 2012