Two Dutch design students create a concept garment that doubles as game hardware, and could even function as a television remote.
Leslie KatzFormer Culture Editor
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Who needs an Xbox when you can just put on a sweatshirt and thrash your arms about? That's the idea behind Woven, a wearable gaming platform by two Dutch designers.
Christiaan Ribbens and Patrick Kersten, recent graduates of the Utrecht School of the Arts, embedded a sweater and pair of jeans with a small Bluetooth module, speakers, motion sensors, shake motors, a three-color LED screen, and other gizmos to create their concept gaming platform. A trio of LilyPad Arduino microcontrollers process the data and operate the LEDs (and are, incidentally, washable).
Ribben and Kersten even created a pervasive game especially for Woven -- Spooky, which has the Woven wearer running around appearing to spontaneously air-box in an attempt to capture ghosts and phantoms that "attack" at random.
A smartphone running the game/app wirelessly connects to the garb via Bluetooth and the speakers plug in to the phone's jack, with gameplay broadcast on the 12x12-inch LED belly display. Yeah, expect a few curious stares if this thing makes it into production.
We're seeing more and more wearable technology these days -- most recently a men's fleece with an embedded video player -- but not many have quite the multitasking promise of this one.
While the idea of becoming your own game console is catchy, even more intriguing are the other everyday uses for Woven the pair discovered during their build. It could, for example, monitor your physical activity, alert you to social-networking updates, or just function as flashy customizable fashion.
I especially like the part in the video below where the wearer uses the e-garment as a TV remote by listlessly slapping himself a couple of times with his arm.