Smart dress gets whole new meaning


15 Aug 2006

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A dance performance as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival yesterday showcased an example of some of the wearable technology being developed by Dublin City University’s Adaptive Information Cluster (AIC) and the Crafts Council of Ireland.

The smart garment concept was showcased by the collaborative initiative, Adaptive Craft, at dance performance Jacare Jungle. Using a glove and armband dancers were able to control slide projections with their movements.

The initiative which has been operating for six months has more up its sleeve than a glove and armband, however.

Adaptive Craft is the brainchild of Prof Dermot Diamond, director of the AIC, who aims to break down barriers among science, craft, design and technology.

Smart Garment was the winning concept proposed by textile designer Tara Carrigy. Working with the AIC, Carrigy has developed a yoga mat and a number of yoga garments with wearable technology. “The AIC showed us what technology they had and it struck me that yoga would be quite good,” she told siliconrepublic.com.

Smart Garment will enable the wearer to monitor their breathing and posture while exercising. The next stage of this project is to develop smart yoga wear and Carrigy is working closely with AIC researchers in chemistry, engineering and computing on this project.

The technology being used includes galvanic skin response, which is used in lie-detector tests, and can give you feedback on state of stress or relaxation. “The garment can sense your breathing and how far you’ve stretched through conductive lycra and conductive foam,” she added. These are combined with some wiring and circuit boards.

Carrigy said the smart garments may be used as educational tools to help demonstrate subtleties of yoga postures or later as a virtual trainer. The yoga suit, when fully developed, will help people practice yoga in their own home, she said. It will incorporate smart fabrics being developed at the university where the fabric itself will monitor changes in pressure. Tiny transmitters will take readings from the garment to show how the moves and breathing are being performed.

The yoga suit will incorporate pattern design so that it will not only be high-tech and fully functional but will look great too.

By Elaine Larkin