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Invention

WTF Moments in Fashion Tech History: Inflatable Bras Edition

It may be hard to believe but during the 50s and 60s blow-up bras were manufactured and sold to the mass market by Frederick's of Hollywood ("make the most of you") and Très Secrète ("the most inspired of the sweet feminine deceptions"). Mercifully, they were long buried in the dustbin of history—right where they belong. That is, until a 21st century Chinese company got "inspired" and decided to revive the idea that refuses to go flat (sorry).

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STELLA "Klight" Dress with Stretchable Electronics

The "Klight" dress is designed by Mareike Michel, a fashion design student at the University of Applied Science in Berlin, Germany. What makes this demure LBD so special is the stretchable PCB. For those who don't know, a PCB stands for "printed circuit board" and they are the boards that hold and connect the main components of a computerized system like you find inside your cellphone, computer, and other electronic devices (see below). They are very hard and inflexible and usually difficult to integrate into fabric unless your looking for something with real rigidity. However, with a STELLA, we are looking at a possible future with washable and comfortable interactive fashion and interior design. 

A common PCB (Left) is found in most all electronic devices today. The Knight dress with the stretchable PCB (on the right) was developed in cooperation with scientists from Fraunhofer IZM and TU Berlin as part of the European research project STELLA (STretchable ELectronics for Large Area Applications).

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Sequined Solar Cells for Power Hungry Fashionistas

 

With the advancement of a new micro solar cell, sequined dresses of the future may not just indicate a fashionista on the loose, but instead, an environmentally conscious go-getter with a fully charged cell phone.

The scientists at Sandia National Laboratories, makers of all things sci-fi, have created tiny snow-flake looking solar cells (pictured below) for possible applications in textiles and clothing. These cells are being designed to be less expensive and have greater electronic efficiencies than the current cells on the market. The micro cells require cutting edge manufacturing techniques to ensure quality. Even so, their miniscule size makes it so that there is a minimal loss of power production if one were to be damaged. Compare this to today’s large rectangular solar panels, where if one goes down, the whole unit has a huge loss in power production. Instead with these new cells if one went down it would just be a small percentage of the overall grid.

This is defiantly a technology to watch. I see a future of sparkling rooftops, glittering light poles, and fashionable sequined shrugs. What do you see? What would you make with solar powered sequins? Leave a comment and let us know.

Source: Inhabitat

Dress image from stellarmagazine

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Say Hello to Sparky Jr. The DIY Remote Controlled Skyping Roomba

It is 2010, and there is no better time to create your own video chatting controllable robot. Designed by artist, Marque Cornblatt, Sparky Jr. is completely open source, which means all the software, diagrams, and technical specifications are available for free on their website. Also, be sure to see his other "Gomi Style" designs on his YouTube site, H2oboy1. Watch out for Zombies!

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Flu Fighting (?) Suits

When I saw the announcement of a flu virus killing suit (PDF link) out of Japan I thought to myself: Finally! A techno fashion piece for guys. Take that Swine Flu! Upon further review, unfortunately, my enthusiasm was quickly dampered. These "Virus Clean Suits" by Haruyama Trading supposedly break down viruses when the titanium dioxide on their fabric reacts to light. That sounds good indeed until you realize:

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A Bra For Homeland Security

WTF Moments in Fashion Tech History: Solar Vest Edition

There is no need to waste words to describe the solar vest in the image above. It's rather, well, aesthetically challenged, and was roundly ridiculed by many bloggers. Allow me to quote Jaymi of TreeHugger.com to fulfill the snark quota:

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Women in spaaaaaaace!

[Image above] Dava Newman in her Biosuit--a sleek spacesuit that relies on mechanical counter-pressure instead of using gas pressurization--on Henry Moore's sculpture 'Reclining Figure' on the MIT campus. Photo / Donna Coveney

Today is the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing and to celebrate this glorious feat of scientific and human advancement here are some female astronauts who helped us achieve our goals in space exploration.

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Innovative Women: Brynn Hudson's Travel Iron

(Video above) Press & Go Iron from iHeartSwitch on Vimeo.

Brynn Hudson, a jewelry designer from Maplewood, New Jersey, shows off her idea for a Press & Go Travel Iron to IHeartSwitch.com. You can take it anywhere and spot press your clothes on the go with no fuss, no mess, and no wires!

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The Light of Invention


[Music Room at Edison National Historic Site]

I recently had the opportunity to have a private visit of the Thomas Edison National Historic Site in West Orange, New Jersey. Its Thomas Edison’s laboratory complex and it is currently being renovated. The complex is where he created the first films, recorded some of the first music records, manufactured light bulbs and phonographs and many other gadgets that changed our lives forever. Since I was there as part of team of fabricators who were helping with the renovation, I didn’t feel it was right for me to take too many pictures, but I did get this one shot of the machine shop in the early afternoon. 

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