As electronics increasingly become embedded in everyday objects, what kind of clothes will we wear? Will the techno garb of the future expand our awareness of our environment? Sense and communicate our emotions? Change color according to our surroundings? Warn us of impending danger?
For some idea of what tomorrow's closet might contain, have a look at "TechnoSensual: Where fashion meets technology," an interactive exhibition on display in Vienna through September that presents electronic textiles and wearable technologies -- some brand-new, others more well-worn -- created by international haute tech couture designers.
The brainchild of Netherlands-based designer Anouk Wipprecht, the show combines fashion and technology, with smart clothes equipped with electronic components like sensors, projectors, speakers, and LEDs. Wipprecht created this "Smoked Dress," which generates smoke to ward off enemies.
Also on display at TechnoSensual is curator Anouk Wipprecht's "Pseudomorphs," a series of dresses that paint themselves. The dresses consist of thick white felt, plus ink-filled tubes that sit at the top of the garment, held in place by a neck brace. The ink drips down the frocks in a different pattern every time, meaning no two dresses turn out alike.
These 3D-printed polyamide Morphogenesis shoes from Dutch fashion designer Pauline van Dongen would be perfect for a party on the moon. Just don't get your heel caught in any craters.
Van Dongen will participate in an August 29 TechnoSensual symposium, one of a number of educational events taking place in connection with the exhibition at Vienna's MuseumsQuartier Wien art and culture complex through September 2.
Dutch fashion designer Maartje Dijkstra and Dutch electronic composer Beorn Lebenstedt collaborated on "Denzipfaden," a high-fashion, and high-tech, jungle-inspired men's outfit that functions as a music/DJ controller. The garment consists of golden, custom-made zippers that work like the fader controls used in DJ mixers.
Skin Probe dresses by Royal Philips Electronics explore emotion-sensing technology through dresses that blush and shiver with the help of 18 miniature projectors located between the garment's layers. The dresses use biometric sensors to collect data like heart rate and respiration; that information then affects the intensity, shape, and colors of the projected light.
Don't expect to see the Skin Probe line at Macy's anytime soon. Philips calls the dresses a "far-future design concept."
The Intimacy 2.0 dress by Dutch design group Studio Roosegaarde and development institute V2_ Lab also translates biological signals, using smart e-foil technology to alter the garment's level of transparency based on the wearer's heart rate.
Studio Roosegaarde says it's in the process of selecting haute couture designers to develop an Intimacy 3.0 fashion line for men and women.
The collection includes three dresses with three different poems, with specific gestures triggering the speakers. To play a poem about death and remembrance, for example, the wearer embraces herself by crossing her arms over her chest and pressing the pressure sensors on the sleeves.