We could soon be wearing smart clothes that can check up on our health, read our moods, and help us to cope with the stresses and strains of daily life. Ok so that’s not going to come as a shock to anyone as we’ve been hearing stuff like that for years.
Now though, Canadian scientists have actually developed prototype garments that monitor our physiological states like our heart rate and our temperature, as well as our galvanic skin responses and our breathing, and by comparing all the data on an online database, which the garments connect to through a smartphone or a PDA, the clothes work out how we are feeling and help us out.
There are a total of around 16 emotional states that the clothes can identify and when a particular emotional state has been identified from the data the clothes receive, then the clothes will access a database of different types of media and send something to calm us down or cheer us up, perhaps a beautiful melody or song, image, or a motivational message, or even a pre-recorded message from a loved one. The user has to set up the database first of course.
The wearer will also be able to tell the smart clothes what person they want the system to ‘channel’ that day, for example if your partner or child is away from home or just someone you want to spend the day with. The clothes will be help you relax and if you want, can even evoke memories of loved ones that may have already departed this world.
The smart clothes, which have been developed by Barbara Layne from Concordia University in Canada and Janis Jefferies from Goldsmiths College’s Digital Studios have been embedded with wireless sensors, an LED display, and built in speakers. Hey don’t you just love technology, we’ll all be like walking computers.
The clothes have been produced as part of an art project under the project name “Wearable Absence” or WAb.
Not sure if the concept of wearable smart clothes will take off or not. Can’t help wondering how the clothes can be washed or where you go for repairs. Still, I think it’s a brilliant idea.
The clothes were shown at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Montreal which ended on the 3rd June.