I’ve come across a few interesting items lately, all revolving around the things we wear, with a second functionality. Perhaps you may find some of these interesting, useful or just plain silly, but at the end of the day, for many designers, the next logical step is to integrate technology into their products since so many of us are being consumed by it everyday.
Here is a round-up of my most recent finds:
Power Wellies-electricity producing Wellington rain boots
In collaboration with British telecommunications company, Orange, and the renewable-energy masterminds at Gotwind, the companies have created a prototype of a pair of Wellington rain boots that use a unique ‘power generating sole’ (thermoelectric modules) that converts heat from your feet, and the coolness of the ground, into an electrical current. Their selling point is that 12 hours of ‘heated’ feet movement (and stomping) will enable you to charge your cellphone for up to an hour. Simply plug in your phone into the power output at the top of the boots. I’ve always wanted to invest in a pair of wellies, perhaps now is the perfect time 2 in 1!
Adidas Shoe Game Pack-augmented reality footwear
Adidas, well known for its sports apparel and footwear, has decided for the first time this year, to combine footwear and online games into one. (I can already feel they’ve garnered the interests of most of our male readers) By introducing their latest line of five ‘experimental’ men’s sneakers, they’ve included a special augmented reality element to each. By holding your newly purchased kicks in front of your computer with the ‘code-embedded tongue’ facing your webcam, you will be taken into a 3D virtual ‘Adidas neighbourhood’, where you will be able to ‘unlock’ challenging games and find exclusive content from Adidas. See their video below and see if you’re sold on the idea.
Protective Saris-a life saving solution
From a study that was started five years ago, the simple solution of using the sari garments of the Indian women in Bangladesh, to filter their drinking water has proven to be a powerful deterrent from disease. For us in North America, we are fortunate to have portable or installed water filters to ensure we have clean water to drink from, but in areas such as India, that kind of luxury is often unavailable as most of you already know. The study, conducted by individuals from the University of Maryland and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have demonstrated that by folding the cotton saris at least eight times it can reduce the incidents of plankton and bacterium growth responsible for cholera -a life-threatening disease – by at least 48%! Though there is no magic (or technology) involved in this project, it is definitely a breakthrough discovery that will save many lives.
Subtle Subtitles-a scarf that aids people with slurred speech
Calum Pringle, an interactive media student from the University of Dundee in Scotland, has created the Subtle Subtitles – a project inspired by his mother, who has been affected by speech dysarthria. The neck warmer is certainly useful and attractive on its own, but it becomes a quality-of-life aid for those who have a hard time communicating their desires to people who may not be used to the way they talk. By inserting an iPhone or a similar device into the pocket of the scarf, this multifunctional accessory displays what the speaker is saying in subtitle format. This device is not meant to be state-of-the-art, as Pringle suggests himself. The goal is to help people affected by speech dysarthria communicate their desires, and to also preserve the intimacy of the exchange. The video below demonstrates the Subtle Subtitle in action.
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