Wearing your heart on your sleeve is so 20th century. In the 21st, we'll soon show our feelings in real-time with pulsating LED lights that are built into our clothing. At this week's Intel Developer Forum, the chipmaker's representatives and partners showed off innovative smart clothing designs that use the new Edison processing platform. The designs rely on built-in sensors to track the wearers' safety, health and emotional state in real-time then share that data with others.
Smart Shirts Send Your Vitals to a Necklace
Intel Labs China showed off a cute and useful method for tracking someone else's health and get alerts. One person wears an undershirt with an ECG sensor built-in to the sleeve, which measures vital signs and transmits them to the cloud, using Edison's Wi-Fi capability (or possibly even mobile broadband).
A second person, who can be anywhere with an Internet connection, wears a connected necklace or a tie which lights up in different colors and patterns to show how the undershirt-wearer is feeling. Using complex algorithms, the cloud software can use the sensor data to show, not only the person's physical health, but her mood. There's also a tablet app that displays much more detailed stats than the lights on the necklace.
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We can envision many practical uses for this smartshirt technology. If you care for an elderly person, you could know that she's sleeping when your necklace turns blue or that it's time to check on her when your tie starts flashing red. In a less serious use case, couples could keep track of each other's feelings throughout the day as a husband learns his wife is stressed out when his necklace turns green. The technology on display reminded us a bit of the AiQ smart clothing we saw on display at Computex Taipei.
An Evening Gown That Flashes your Feelings
Smart clothing doesn't need to send your data to cloud to show others how you're feeling. Using the Edison platform, Dutch fashion designer Anouk Wipprecht built the Synapse Dress, which uses a series of flashing blue LED lights to tell everyone how the wearer is feeling. Using an EKG or ECG and proximity sensor, the dress tracks the subject's stress level, focus and other feelings then lights up, according to how it's programmed.
For example, if the wearer feels like someone is invading her personal space and making her uncomfortable, the lights on the dress can turn up to 120 watts of brightness, telling the other person to back off. However, if she's on the dance floor and wants to beckon to that handsome guy across the room to come closer, her lights can blink in a different manner. The dress also has a camera on the front that can capture a still whenever the subject feels either most tense or most relaxed so she can later track what was making her feel that way.
The dress we saw at IDF was 3D printed out of TPU material, a mix of plastic and silicone. It has a very H.R.-Geiger / sci-fi aesthetic about it, but clearly this technology could be used in any style of clothing.
A Hardhat with High-Tech Hardware
Another Intel inventor showed off a hard hat with built-in sensors that detect if the wearer has fallen or if there are toxins in the air. Using Edison's Wi-Fi connectivity, the hat transmits the data to the cloud where managers can get an alert the moment their workers are in peril.
In the dangerous world of construction, knowing when someone has fallen or is breathing dangerous fumes could be the difference between life and death. Using Wi-Fi triangulation, the hat could also be used to locate a miner who has been trapped underground.