No one ever accused Bill Gates of being a fashion plate, but the company he founded may be developing a new reputation for haute couture.
The Printing Dress is the creation of Asta Roseway from Microsoft Research and Sheridan Martin Small from the company's Xbox division. It's an exploration of wearable technology that also doubles as something you might actually look good wearing. Imagine that.
The material is black and white rice paper, but this is no origami project. Laser-cut buttons that look like old typewriter keys are sewn into the dress. A laptop, four circuit boards, and a projector round out the technology.
The Printing Dress is designed to project what you're putting out on the Internet. Tweets become fashion statements as words flit across the skirt. This sort of wearable technology is not recommended for members of Congress with itchy Twitter fingers.
Roseway sees this kind of clothing as a step toward social accountability for your online actions. It could conceivably help reduce the flame war phenomenon that comes from people hiding behind anonymity and pare down the number of controversial tweets offhandedly tossed out by celebrities. Online words become a lot more real when you have to display them to everyone within eyesight.
The prototype dress is not actually wearable yet, but it's still one of the more compelling products to come out of Microsoft recently. Who knew a technology behemoth could look so good?
This video features an interview with Asta Roseway for wearable technology blog Electricfoxy.