Intel showed off a 3-D-printed smart dress that gives us all a glimpse of the future of technology and fashion.
The “synapse dress” designed by Intel’s New Devices Group and fashion designer Anouk Wipprecht in the Netherlands. A model wearing the dress said that the headband monitors her EEG brain waves, which controls the lights that run up and down her bodice. The more focused her level of attention is, the more the lights brighten from her shoulders to her head. If she is really focused, she can activate the video camera embedded in the center of her chest.
Yeah, that’s fashion forward.
The dress includes an intricate 3-D-printed design that Wipprecht created on a computer. The rubbery material was printed in two sections and draped over the model.
“Anouk likes to make designs that play with notions of personal space,” said Todd Harple, an anthropologist and member of Intel’s New Devices Group, in an interview. “It’s not just a dress with lights.”
The dress essentially captures the model’s state of mind.
The synapse dress is part of a collection of wearable devices designed by Intel, which seeks to make technology truly pervasive through everyday objects. Such connected everyday objects have been dubbed the Internet of Things (IoT).
And it can also keep the creeps away: The dress can turn on bright, white light-emitting diodes, the equivalent of 120 watts of light.
Other dresses, like the Intimacy 2.0 dress designed by Wipprecht, will change to become transparent if the wearer becomes excited.
“She’s very playful with her dresses to have them say something that is an inner thought of the wearer,” Harple said.
The dress uses Intel Edison, the IoT processor that has a microprocessor and other components of a computer on a very small circuit board. Edison has built-in sensors and communication to connect everyday devices to the Internet.
David Kanter, a chip analyst at the Linley Group, said that the Edison platform is impressive, but it isn’t that practical yet. It is more like a development platform that gets people excited about designing new products. Future versions of the chip are likely to become commercially available, he said.
Harple said the dress designs will be shared with the Maker movement so that others can get ideas for creating wearable fashion devices.
“This is the first in a series,” Harple said. “If you look at the history of Anouk’s dresses, they are very intriguing.”