Japanese Experimenting with Wearable Synthesis

wearable synthesisScientists at Keio University in Japan are pioneering new types of clothing, inspired by analog synthesis, that can change color to match various outfits. The hi-tech clothing is an example of current research into wearable computers.

A color-shifting “chameleon shawl”, developed by Akira Wakita, incorporates red, blue and green light-emitting dioedes(LEDs). By varying the brightness of each type of diode, various colors can be created. A sensor in the garment lets it identify and match the color of the nearest item of clothing.

Other experimental clothing can react to the environment or respond to the touch. At right, a model demonstrates a wearable piano.

According to the Keio University site:

Our concept is based on the perception of clothing as a module. This clothing has both input and output. Say, we have an inner wear that senses the body temperature and changes its color. In this case, body temperature is input through a temperature sensor and processed by microcon-trollers. Here, by assuming the output of a module as the input of another module, linkage between two modules is realized. By connecting another fashion item, for example outer wear, that inputs the light output from the inner wear, “the coordination of information” can be established. Effectors, for example accessories, hats and bags, can be also thought that amplifies the output of a module.

This conceptual model is similar to the analog synthesizer. In analog synthesizer, users can generate infinite original sound by connecting and tuning three modules, VCA, VCO and VCF. We have named our model “Wearable Synthesis” in the meaning of enabling original fashion expression by combining individual fashion items.

Source: Information Design Lab, Keio University

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