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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Clothes Smarter Than You Are: Welcome to the Future


Marcelo Coelho's Kukkia flowers and Vilkas dress

Kukkia flowers and the Vilkas dress are two kinetic electronic garments that move and physically change over time.

Credit: Marcelo Coelho Studio

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab researcher Marcelo Coelho concentrates on developing wearable devices whose intelligence may exceed that of their wearer. He envisions clothes programmed to change color or patterns, dresses with hemlines that automatically rise and fall, and other smart textiles enabled by integrated computers.

Coelho has developed a watch-shaped device equipped with a small computer that is programmed with the user's personal data, which also communicates with other devices in a room. This device can signal if other people in the room have things in common with the wearer, pointing toward opportunities to socialize. Dovetailing with this concept is fellow MIT scientist Skylar Tibbits' focus on fourth-dimensional printing, in which three-dimensional printers can arrange and configure themselves in novel and useful ways, using materials that change in a pre-determined manner in response to ordinary forces such as pressure or water. "They are materials that behave like robots, but don't need robots," Tibbits says. "We eventually propose that the materials could assemble themselves from scratch."

Further out, Coelho anticipates chips and Wi-Fi devices implanted directly into the human body.

From Phys.Org 
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