Connected Garments

…your clothing is taking care of you feeling at home and being in touch with your friends while you walk around. Clothing will make appointments, dates, it will blog about you, of course it keeps track of daylight, of being at work or in a disco. Your clothing is talking to the clothing of others, exchanging information which is interesting for you.

…you see an intriguing person passing by, but your skirt, which keeps track of your friends and relations doesn’t know this yet. eventually your skirt will manage to get the attention of the trousers and a appointment will be made, big business ahead!

…a little bit of micro electronics hidden in your clothes, keeps track of your intimate friends at short distance, of friends and colleagues in the same building and of far away connections through internet. Even while being concentrated on other things, you are connected in your social network via your clothing, which is “at your fingertips” even without making calls, starting up computers, staring at a screen…

..  with the connected garments you cannot even be considered single any more, first of all you are with your clothing, secondly through your small talk clothing you are embedded in a large ongoing chat about possibilities, opportunities and being together anyway…

modularic_friends3008 Aren’t we busy talking, chatting, twittering, blogging, face booking, linked inning? We just have to stay in touch with our friends and feel at home wherever we are. Still we need these laptops and PDA’s. But how about going really micro and dispersing the electronics in the clothing we wear anyway. No more forgetting your cell phone and suddenly feel lonely!
We have started investigating these possibilities and the consequences using some basic and relatively cheap stuff like wireless doorbells, avr chips, rfid and vibration motors.
We aim at a mix of sensory perceptions and exchange of small bits of language.

some technical details:
The electronics is hidden in special pockets, which are attached to the clothing with magnets. The shape of the pockets is reflected in the design of the clothing. Before washing, the electronic units can be removed. The wiring is hidden in the lining of the coat and the shirt.
In this first stage, the sending and receiving between clothes is done by hacking a wireless doorbell. This is by far the cheapest solution around. The vest sends a message to the coat: “Hi Love…CU!” which is triggered by a soft button. A timer keeps track of the response and when nothing is heard the chip will start sending a message itself. The more intimate friends can recognize each others by rfid tags. Being close together, the tag will trigger a vibration in a pouch with five vibration motors. Far away friends, or chatting about you on the internet are monitored by a computer. The shirt is in wireless contact with the computer and will play a soundscape of bleeps and small noises when something about you is found on the internet, this could have been a twitter message, blog, email or chat…

The follow up of this project is called “Gossip” and will explore in more depth the possibilities of exchanging words, language and sentences between clothes. The person wearing the clothes will be in a cloud of words, and the clouds surrounding the persons will mingle and mix, at last we will be in a continually changing textscape!

more info:

Designers: Beam van Waardenberg, Meerthe Heuvelings, Marina Toeters,
Photography: Brian Smeulders
Models: Zanne, Lesley en Dean