Space Boy 2000

We all have some form of relationship with technology, and that relationship has a past, a present, and a future. How we saw and interacted with technology when we were kids, how we use it today, and how it will influence us in the future. I wanted to meld these ideas together, in a fantastical and costume-esque wearable that incorporated current technology.

When thinking about my past, present, and future relationship with technology, and what devices I currently consider dear to me, the idea of turning my iPod touch (Optimus Prime) into a retro-future style computer armband was an exciting prospect. I have always loved the old science fiction ideas of the future, and jumped at the chance to turn one into reality. In researching for this project, I found myself more and more wanting something also reminiscent of childhood: that idea of technology almost more than technology itself. When I was kid, we had a non-functioning keypad mounted on the doorway next to our basement playroom. While the keypad did nothing, it was exciting to pretend one needed a security code to enter the room: and that was enough. The technology itself wasn’t needed or necessary. Growing up I was also borderline obsessed with Calvin & Hobbes, and Calvin’s alternate ego: Spaceman Spiff. The adventures you can take within your own imagination can be more exciting than where technology could take you.

As exciting as the prospect of owning/making my very own futuristic computer-band, it turned out to be very hard to actualise. The iPod is sleek and slippery, and trying to simply strap it down with material to the arm was not an option. I was fortunate enough to scout out some plastic snap cases, which were barely more bulk than the iPod itself. With both a drill press and a hand drill, I created a variety of small holes to be able to sew through. I made a solid leather wristband, with large button attachments, as a wearable prototype only (no technology). While the design of the wristband itself was solid and comfortable, after trying to work with leather for the future-computer wristband, I decided to change tact as the aesthetic was not quite what I wanted, and the attachments weren’t functioning as well as I’d hoped. Finding a great shiny silver stretch fabric helped not only with the attachment design problems, but worked well towards my retro-future aesthetic. I experimented with size and shape of the wristband and holder, and came to a good middle point: something that was nice and big and costume-esque, but not too bulky and heavy to actually wear. I gave it shape with carved foam, in between layers of the stretch material. After wearing/testing one of the prototypes, I added some extra elastic to prevent the wristband from sliding down the arm for the final product.

Finishing the wristband and wearing it for the first time was very exciting. Due to the materials used, it’s not very heavy or awkward on the arm, and becomes less apparent over time. I especially enjoyed dressing up for the critique, as the piece called for extravagant play, and that great call back to childhood and imagination. Since the critique, I have continued to wear it (minus the rest of the gear, sadly) and the response to it has been pretty great. A lot of “Cool!”s and “Did you make that?”s, which is always encouraging. While the responses to this current wristband have been positive, there is always room for improvement. Every model I have made so far has been better than the last, and I look forward to developing it further. I’d also like to make some for others, and see how they wear on different bodies and with different lives. If possible, I would like to return to working with leather, as well as explore other materials to create other aesthetics. Once form/structure is further tweaked, adding some “useless” LEDs to add to the aesthetic could also be taken into account. As for deviating away from the costume application, and creating something more marketable, I have no interest in that. I am much happier to find fun and creative ways to engage the imagination beyond the scope of what technology can provide.

Space Boy 2000, OUT.

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