Imagine a world where your sneakers send information about your running patterns and stride to your computer, where your shirt monitors your heart rate and vital statistics, sending the data to your doctor weekly, or a jacket that lights up and sings based on where you touch it. All of these products and many more are part of what’s called wearable technology or wearables. Over the last several years we’ve seen lots of new technology integrated into our regular household objects and now tech is transforming our clothing and jewelry too!
Wearable technology can come in many forms, from art piece to tool which helps us to enhance our everyday activities. I myself have dabbled in wearable tech by adding LEDs to different clothing items, creating bright vibrant wearable art! My latest project was a pair of LED platform sneakers. They had 75 lights on each shoe and were programmed with multiple different patterns. Before that project I made LED covered coats and scarves. I walked into the process not knowing anything other than how to sew and left with soldering skills, programming basics, and a better understanding of different types of hardware. Wearables are a great entry point for those looking to start learning new technology skills.
One of the best parts about wearable tech is that the projects are accessible for people of all skill levels. With new tools, such as conductive thread, you only needs to know how to do a basic stitch and you can have an interactive piece of clothing. The library has a plethora of great resources available to learn more about how to make your own wearables and the internet is full of project ideas including many from Make Magazine.
E-textiles by Jan Toth-Chernin
Make: wearable electronics by Kate Hartman
Fashioning technology: a DIY intro to Smart Crafting by Syuzi Pakhchyan
Soft circuits: crafting E-fashion with DIY electronics by Kylie Peppler