CNET – Imagine: You’re walking down the street at night. You turn a corner, and suddenly, coming your way, you see someone with “Avatar” playing on their jacket.
It’s a futuristic notion, but according to the folks at open-source hardware maker Adafruit Industries, it’s one that’s just months away.
That’s because Adafruit has just unveiled Flora, its brand-new Arduino and Arduino-compatible wearable electronics platform. Designed to give anyone the ability to craft a matrix of up to hundreds or someday, more than 1,000 small LED “pixels,” Flora is meant to make it possible to easily craft custom wearable multi-LED pixel designs perfect for art events like Burning Man, or even the streets of whatever town you live in.
wireless and mobile news - Forget that old fashioned Baby monitor, you will soon be able monitor the baby’s vital signs on your computer, cell phone or tablet with Exmobaby by Exmovere wireless transmitting baby pajamas.
Exmobaby is a snap-on transmitter designed to measure critical vital signs in infants, including heart rate, skin temperature, moisture and movement. The data is transmitted at regular intervals to the parent’s computer, tablet and smartphone and is used to interpret the baby’s emotional states and behavior, transmitting alerts to parents and caregivers when their babies require attention or care.
The Exmobaby onesie is already available for sale. The onsie is safe, washable, rechargeable and transmits data via Zigbee up to 100 feet. It is based on patented technology from Sensatex and Georgia Tech.
The Engineer – The engineers at Belgian electronics company Imec claim that the completely hidden thermoelectric generator (TEG) can harness the body’s heat to generate electricity that could power low-energy wearable electronics. The TEG comprises 16 ‘thermopiles’, which are the individual electronic components responsible for converting heat into electricity. The voltage they generate is directly proportional to the temperature gradient across them.
These thermopiles are sandwiched between two plates, one hot and one cold, giving the device an overall thickness of 5mm. Ruud Vullers, principal scientist at Imec, told The Engineer: ‘If you have two semi-conductors and you apply a thermal gradient across them then a current will flow.’
The device is reported to produce an average power of 1mW when sitting in an office at 22ºC. As a result it could power health-monitoring devices such as electrocardiograms, which only require about 0.4mW. The power output doubles when the user stands to 2mW and doubles again to 4mW when walking.
MAKE Magazine – Phillip Torrone’s personal odyssey through the history of wearable computing:
“For decades I’ve wanted interesting, beautiful, and (sometimes) functional electronics on the most personal geographies of all, myself. When I think of “living in the future,” it’s what springs to mind: subtle LEDs, lots of polished metal. In this week’s column I’m going to share some milestones, mistakes, and projects in the world of wearable electronics. From geeky watches to wearable music players — I’ve always wanted to utilize my wrist real estate to my shoes for electronics of some kind. Many of the “wearables” I’m going to share are from my project archives, some are now “real,” and others are products that are out now. I think we’re finally entering an era where wearable electronics can look good and work well”…
Technology Review – Stretchable silicon electronics that offer the computing power of rigid chips could make their way into Reebok’s athletic apparel in the coming years. The company will work with MC10, a startup maker of flexible electronics, to develop sportswear that incorporates electronics to monitor athletes’ health and performance during training and rehabilitation.
Flexible silicon transistor arrays on cloth, like this lab prototype (see image), are being commercialized by startup MC10 and could be used in wearable electronics that process information about athletic performance.
Singularity Hub — Let’s face it, without the technology you use everyday you’d be pretty stuck. No automatic coffee pot, no iPhone, no GPS helping you crash your car. How would you even make it to the office? Not satisfied with the death grip they have on you now, scientists and designers the world over are finding new ways to integrate technology into every part of your life. Enter electronic clothes. These garments and accessories contain computers, lights, and all sorts of gadgets meant to bring you into the modern age. Why wear boring regular clothes when the newest styles will turn you into a walking multimedia phenomenon. Some of these clothes could even save your career.
The top ten according to Singularity Hub:
- Any Shirt ThinkGeek Has Sold…Ever
- I’m Sorry, Is Your Ring…Ringing?
- The Part of Your Body that Doesn’t Need More Attention
- Scarfs for Autism
- Costumes that Listen
- Clothes with Controls
- The Shirt That Hugs You…Where are The Pants?
- The Data Logging Shirt
- Do It Yourself Electronic Hoodies
- The GalaxyDress by Cute Circuit
ThinkGeek – [sic] Here at ThinkGeek we’re constantly amazed at the never-ending evolution of new technology. Hey, it’s our job. Take the lowly T-Shirt for example: In caveman times you had animal pelts… the Medieval era saw rise to the stylish burlap sack… next came lovely soft cotton and then synthetic polyester. Finally the modern space age delivers a fully functioning graphic equalizer in a handy t-shirt format. Party like it’s 2999 with the glowing display on the T-Qualizer that dynamically changes with any ambient sound or music. This has to be the coolest wearable tech we’ve seen since the George Foreman backpack grill.
cnet – crave — Sashaying down the runway this weekend toward the future of wearable technology: a solar-powered dress that revs gadgets via a USB charger located in the waist.
Parts of the dress come from Cornell University’s Textiles Nanotech Laboratory, which teamed up with two Italian universities to create cotton threads that can conduct electrical currents, yet remain light and comfortable enough to feel like the good old cotton we all know and love to sleep in.
”Previous technologies have achieved conductivity, but the resulting fiber becomes rigid and heavy,” said Juan Hinestroza, an assistant professor of Fiber Science and Apparel Design at the university whose student, Abbey Liebman, designed the solar frock. “More importantly our coatings are robust, hence making our yarns friendly to further processing such as weaving, sewing, and knitting.”
PhysOrg.com — Could powering an iPod or cell phone become as easy as plugging it into your tee shirt or jeans, and then recharging the clothing overnight? Scientists in California are reporting an advance in that direction with an easier way of changing ordinary cotton and polyester into “conductive energy textiles” — e-Textiles that double as a rechargeable battery. Their report on the research appears in ACS’ Nano Letters.
“Wearable electronics represent a developing new class of materials with an array of novel functionalities, such as flexibility, stretchability, and lightweight, which allow for many applications and designs previously impossible with traditional electronics technology,” Yi Cui and colleagues note. “High-performance sportswear, wearable displays, new classes of portable power, and embedded health monitoring systems are examples of these novel applications.”
fashion, jewelry, phone
What’s Your Tech — There’s one cool little product that has garnered quite a buzz following the CES show — rather than during it. It’s called the O.R.B. Wireless Earpiece Finger Ring, and it’s an example of clever convergence that fuses fashion with function — and works with a product you already own.
When you’re not using your smartphone, the O.R.B. slips onto your finger and resembles a modern-looking ring. But this piece of jewellery has a unique twist: an e-ink display with caller ID. Therefore, using Bluetooth wireless technology, will show you the name and/or number of the person calling you. Therefore, you can decide to answer or not. More