Im a big fan of “America’s got talent”. I still remember the first time when team iLuminate performed; I was so amazed from their EL light costumes. There on, I decided to research about the EL technologies on costumes.


Team iLuminate is a dancing crew which imbedded EL light system designed by the iLuminate™  that can be control via different mediums. Control mediums include DMX consoles, ProTools, MIDI devices, pre-programmed sequences or own custom iPod/iPad applications.


The glowing tubes and panel they used are Electroluminescent Wirex (often abbreviated to EL wire) which are commonly used in costumes and toys due to its 360 degree unbroken line of visible light.



While I was doing research for iLuminate, I found it impossible to get information about how the costumes are constructed. Therefore, I researched online and found some of the DIYs that demonstrates how it could be possibly made. Among all of the DIY ones, I found this one the most similar and easy to follow:

Here are the following online stores that sell Electroluminescent Wire that I think may be useful for the upcoming projects:


Health & Fitness Tracking Devices

Presentation File (PDF)

Visible but omnipresent and unobtrusive accelerometer-based fitness and health devices track daily activities of the wearer. Self-tracking devices are gaining popularity because people have an increasing interest in knowing the data of their lives. In other words, knowledge of the self gives power to the user to make the right proactive changes to their own health and wellness; people are far more likely to correct negative behaviour if they know more about it.

Unlike niche, athletic tracking devices, companies are creating ones that target the mass majority by fashioning the product. The social aspects of these devices also allow users to compare data with friends. Friendly competition are likely to motivate people to change their habits.

The following devices are ones that I mentioned and talked about in depth.

Fitbit: Zip

Review by WIRED.

Misfit: Shine

A new player to the scene, the Shine is currently on Indiegogo looking for funders.

Nike: Fuelband

An interesting article on the Fuelband, from The New York Times.

Jawbone: Up

Yves Behar talks about the design and manufacturing of the Jawbone Up.

Many people will agree that the Jawbone Up is a beautifully designed object, but you’ll have to wear it to assess it’s usability. And apparently, the downfalls in it’s interactions will teach you a few things about user experience design, according to this Fast Co.Design article.


These self-tracking devices claim to be designed for everyday life and is meant to be worn 24/7, which leads to the two questions I posed to the class:

  1. How secure is your data?
    Who has access to your data? Companies? Your girlfriend? Don’t get caught cheating with these on!
  2. Is this something that you would ‘never’ take off?
    And if you only wear it occasionally, do you think it defeats the purpose of the device?

Hussein Chalayan : Fashion, Innovation and Technology

Hello Everyone!

Below are the links to my Power Point presentation as well as my rough talking notes for the presentation. I also attached some of the images I used in the presentation as well as some additional ones.


PowerPoint presentation :

Hussein Chalayan Powerpoint Presentation

Video Links: (video for Transformer dresses) (video for LED dress) (video for Laser dresses…they’re featured near the end of the video)

Talking Notes:

Hussein Chalayan Talking Notes





Nitinol – Wearable tech – Jovana Ivanovic

SKORPIONS is a set of unique electronic garments which use the shape-memory alloy (SMA) Nitinol. By integrating Nitinol into textiles, it is possible to achieve shape changing, responsive fabrics create to move and change on the body in slow, organic motions. Unfortunately, the process is quite complicated and expensive, therefore there is a large lack of Nitinol-based shape changing garments.

These unique garments utilize electronic fabrics, soft electronic circuits, specially designed circuit boards, magnets, and Nitinol. As for the actual dress, the cut of the pattern and other construction details become an important component of the design. The SKORPIONS’ programming does not respond to sensor data, rather they are more like living organisms or moving sculptures that display characteristics such as control, anticipation, and unpredictability.


Nitinol, also known as muscle wire, is composed of nickel and titanium and has the ability to remember and adapt its geometry. In the recent years, application of Nitinol has increased steadily, especially in medicine, such as dental braces that exert a constant pressure on the teeth. However, they are not yet appropriate for robotics or articifical limbs due to energy inefficiency and slow response times.

During its relaxed state, Nitinol can be integrated into a soft fabric without disrupting its natural movement and flexibility due to it being extremely malleable and resistant. Once heated to its shape memory (or austenite) state, a Nitinol wire becomes stiff and it becomes impossible to shape the Nitinol after integration into the fabric. In order to control the specific shape-change, the Nitinol must be constrained into the desired shape, heated to 500ƒC and quenched in water, much like blacksmithing. The kinetic mechanisms utilized in the SKORPIONS utilize several custom shaped Nitinol wires and their integration with textile techniques like knitting, sewing, and hand stitching. Nitinol wire that has been previous shape-set can still be woven into a textile in its martensite state.


To successfully merge textiles with electronics, a new method for making circuits was required. This process involved the use of conductive yarns, inks, and fabrics to allow the construction of soft electronic circuits. Sewing, weaving, embroidery, and knitting was used to combine the two. The use of snaps allows a durable and seamless connection between the flexible threads and the rigid PCB (printed circuit board). The snaps are soldered to the PCB, while at the same time sewn into the dress and connected to the conductive thread. The electronics are kept inside a small inside pocket , and this also allows for the board to be completely removed when necessary.


Nitinol is not only used to keep the desired shape change, but it can also, through resistive heating, produce the heat necessary for actuation. Two small rechargeable lithium polymer cells can power the dresses for a couple of hours and allows for interesting movements and actions.






Steve Mann















Presentation Notes

Presentation Slides

Sousveillance Document

HAL: Hybrid Assistive Limb

I’ve always been interested in designs for human mobility and enhancing  physical capability to improve standards of living. With the aging baby boomers, Canada’s elderly population is predicted to outgrow the population of children for the first time in history.  With age, comes decreased mobility and increased health issues. That is why there is a stronger need now than ever for designs in this area.

This brings us to Cyberdyne’s exoskeleton design, HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb). It is a cyborg-type robotic suit designed to support human movement by becoming an extension of the wearer’s body. It was designed by Yoshiyuki Sankai, a professor at the University of Tsukuba who is teaching ‘cybernetics’, an area of study that deals with seamlessly integrating the human, the machine and information together.

The suit uses a variety of sensors (accelerometers, floor reaction force sensors under the feet to calculate centre of gravity, angular sensors at the joints, and bioelectrical sensors to detect the wearer’s natural body signals). The sensors are controlled by two complementary control systems (biocybernic and cybernic) that analyze the information from the sensors and activate motors to amplify torque and support the wearer’s intended movements.

The intriguing, but also dangerous, feature of this suit is that it does not require manual control. The wearer doesn’t need to push buttons or use joysticks to control the suit; HAL moves through reading the wearer’s bioelectrical signals and predicts the wearer’s next/intended movement. It takes away the chance of injuring oneself because of human error; however, because of the removal of the wearer’s manual control of the suit and the complete control that technology has over the wearer, it is common for people to be skeptical and afraid to use the suit. Although today’s society is advanced technologically, many people are cautious when it comes to technology, especially when it is on such an intimate level.

The suit was designed initially for use in healthcare, but it has since been expanded to being used in other areas, such as the nuclear workforce and removing radioactive material in Japan. In fact, other companies around the world have also dipped their foot in the realm of wearable robotic suits to enhance and support human capabilities. A few include: Honda’s ‘Walking Assist’, Ekso Bionics, and NASA’s exoskeleton.

Thus said, the future of HAL and similar designs can be considered both positive and negative, depending on where and how it is being used. And this is where our role as designers becomes increasingly important.

My presentation pdf


Ekso Bionics
HAL in use (Article & Video)
Testing HAL (BMC Journal)
HAL for Nuclear Use (Article)
Exoskeletons for Military Use (Article)

Grids of Light

Revised Materials report for LED matrices: calliope-LED-matrices

Slides and links for my Maker/Methods/Materials presentation: calliope-materials-wearables


Bre Pettis; a wordy maker report by Greg McRoberts

  Champions come in all forms and sizes, champions of justice, nature and branding to name a few. Bre Pettis, a champion of DIY electronics and cofounder of Makerbot industries, has created an open source 3d printer for the personal manufacturing of goods to improve lives. Have a broken light bracket? Print a new one instead of buying a whole new lamp.

He has also been a teacher, artist and puppeteer. He created new media for and hosted Make Magazine’s Weekend Projects Podcast. History Television gave him a pilot program called Hacker History. Bre is founder of NYCResistor, a hacker collective in Brooklyn where people gather to share ideas and techniques on making all manor of electronica. Bre continues to push the DIY boundaries by facilitating the DIY world through his projects collectively.
Along with Makerbot Industries, Bre went on to create A world of shared open source 3D designs to download and print on your Makerbot or any printer.

So all that history and what does it mean for you? Lets say you are into Arduino and making robotics or interactive sculpture. It is now possible for low cost, very low cost, to have the capabilities of making an object specific to your needs. Want to make an interactive piece that has moving parts or just need a housing for your Arduino, Raspbery or other PCB? Down load the free software called Openscad or Sketchup, spend a few minutes figuring it out (it isn’t hard) or go to Thingiverse or Google 3D warehouse, perhaps what you need is there or better. People are even 3D printing PCBs with embedded traces. Home made boards that are completely recyclable.

After your done designing you save your file and import it into the free Makerbot software called ReplicatorG. It will slice your model and generate the code to send to the printer. Once that is done you hit print and wait for your object to be built.

It was once said, “with great power comes great responsibility” and using this technology is no different. Of course with disruptive emerging technologies experimentation is required but through that comes the next big innovation. I have a box of failed prints that wait recycling. Others have the same box of scrap and want to reclaim this material. Now we are starting to see open source devices that take failed prints and extrude them back into usable filament to feed the printers made from printed parts as well as metal mechanical components. Now it comes full circle and people are using Makerbot printed and electronic components to do it.

On the other end of responsibility, one can print parts to devices that would potentially do harm to others. For example on Thingiverse some users have uploaded a rifle component that is 100% printable and useable but heavily controlled by gun regulations enforced by the government. What this means for our future I am not sure but it is a bit of a scary notion no doubt.

I am very excited about this stuff and feel that it has the capability and inertia to change the way we view products and manufacturing. Bre didn’t invent 3D printing but he did make it very accessible to everyone. For two thousand dollars you can be part of this 3D manufacturing revolution. I am and I could never have guessed at the success I have had but that’s another maker report waiting to happen. When I considered getting my first Makerbot I watched a video of a very animated and excited Bre Pettis telling me “ I can do it too and Makerbot is here to help” and he was right. Bre’s work continues to leave his mark on the DIY electronics world like Superman has on comic’s…scratch that he is more like Batman. No superpowers, just a quest for the knowledge to achieve his goals. He makes it easy to follow and rally behind him, a true champion.