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Is Augmented Reality Fashion's Next Great Technology Superstar?

(Above: one of Spiral Magazine's Animated Avatars by Designers Reed + Rader)

Augmented Reality or AR is a term for for "a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery - creating a mixed reality."

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Saying goodbye to my hero, Lee Alexander McQueen

"Everything has an end. The cycle of life is a positive thing because it gives room for new things to come." - McQueen

It has been almost two weeks since I learned about Alexander McQueen's tragic suicide. When it happened, I didn't want to blog about it because it felt too personal and deeply depressing. For me, iHeartSwitch is about moving forward with technology in a positive light, not mourning the past. But sometimes, you have to acknowledge and share your pain in order to move past it. I am lucky enough to have a venue to do that and I know many of you were also deeply shocked and hurt by his passing as well, so you won’t mind if I get a little personal.

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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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Conductive Body Paint makes sweet music

The beauty of Visualizing Sound

The visual results of scientific exploration can be absolutely beautiful.

Today, after watching this inspirational video talk on Cymatics, the process of visualizing sound, by Evan Grant. I was inspired to learn more. I did a search for artists and designers who are making sound a part of their aesthetic and what I found is just plain cool. I suspect there are many more working wtih sound out there, but here are a few to start:

Artist Katie Davies created these 3D Sound Prints, which transforms sound into a three-dimensional form using a combination of different specialiized software.

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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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Color Changing Electronic Skins

Our readers who are old enough to remember seeing Governator's Sci-Fi movie Total Recall would recognize the animated GIF. In this scene, a bored receptionist is trying out different nail colors with a simple touch of a stylus.

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Nanoscopic Sewing

I am not going to pretend that I know anything about nanotechnology. Nonetheless, I found this report on The Economist regarding how scientists are using nanoscopic needle to stitch carbon-fiber layers together quite fascinating. Sewers may want to give it a read:

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