Wednesday, 3 February 2010

CompTex - Twitter Dress

this from

Imogen Heaps Twitter Dress Tweets From The Grammys

"Around Heap's neck: a kind of sculptural cuff with blinking light. And her purse was a small television.

The necklace had a live Twitter feed with a wireless router. And a television with videos her fans were sending to her account. She brought her followers down the red carpet."

Wow, that's kinda cool and was actually something i was thinking about recently, about incorporating IM, facebook, twitter and other such info-feeds into clothing via a visual display or an earpiece (with text-to-voice software necessary of course to translate all that "omigod! c wot wez doon 2moz d00dz!" txt/hack speak stuff which is so unnecessary these days when everyone under the age of 25 types at the speed of light anyway

It's maybe not a viable application the now, but surely will be an inevitable and highly desirable one in the coming age of Ubiquitous Computing and Full Connectivity. It might not be feasible perhaps to build computers into your coat* (at least not for the time being) but a good start could be wireless transcievers built into your coat you could plug your PDA into, or whatever it is.

OK, maybe PDA's already have these things. i dunno, i guess they probably do. I just like the idea of being able to wash my mobile phone in the machine with my socks and shirts

never mind that, that's silly. but what isn't silly is video fabric, which i've probably rambled on about before. i mean, why not? i'm convinced the technology's there. all it needs is hooked up to a, oh, what is it, BLUETOOTH! that's it, one of those thingy's, and BAM, you can get texts on your sleeve! how cool would that be?

ok, still kinda kitschy, and perhaps a rather complicated way of solving a problem that's already been solved 20 years ago or so.

anyway, yeah, programmable fabric displays. well cool. react to ambient temperature, or light. maybe yer coat could go red when your blood pressure rises to tell the people about you you're gettin stressed and about to blow your top. that's not a bad idea, like the ultimate PC extrapolation of those gieger tags the workers at nuke plants wear that tell them when they've had too many rads and it's time to go home. "your coat's gone red, time to go lie down and listen to soothing music in the break room"

of course, one thing i've overlooked about the twitter display coat is it gives the likes of 4chan the ability to display lewd messages and icons on the clothing of celebritys at the Grammy's. where's anonymous when you need them?


* wee PS about that whole thing of fabric based computing substrates that has all been kinda boiling about in my head for a while now. i just thought it would be a kinda mad dystopian/utopian/mundane thing if connectable computing substrate was built into all textiles, even wallpaper and landscaper fabric. i mean, say, you've got a 1m square patch of comptex, and you connect it to another piece, and it doubles it's computing power. or maybe it's all connected wirelessley and working as a distributed computing network like how you can use many computers on the internet to complete parts of a program that you'd otherwise need a supercomputer for (SETI have a web interface for hooking your computer up to help scan the stars for radio signals). i mean, imagine, you don't have a computer, your HOUSE (like, your carpets, your wallpaper, your bedsheets, the insulation in the walls) is a computer, and so is your coat, and maybe it loses some of it's power when you're out of your house, but it's still a phone/PDA at least, right? And, the more of this stuff about there is, the less need there is for individual connections to an ISP, cos eventually you won't be able to walk the streets without picking up a WiFi signal (it's getting that way already in the city centres).

All it needs (i make it sound so simple) is flexible, washable logic circuits that don't degrade any faster than the fabric substrate they're woven into. i reckon anyway, i'm no expert on computer architecture, at all. not even slightly. but it makes sense that if the components had those qualities and you could find suitable textile based I/O media then there's no reason that your coat couldn't be a computer. or your bag maybe, or perhaps rather a special, valuable piece of fabric that you paid a lot of money for and wouldn't be particularly happy to expose to the rough and tumble of everyday life.

on the other hand, if the individual computing units of a distributed computing architecture could be made small enough, and assuming there wouldn't be some kind of electronic data loss effect over distance, then it wouldn't matter if one piece of it got torn cos the rest would just work around it, the way the internet does. i mean, think of the net as one big machine, which it is in a manner of speaking. it doesn't matter if a node, or a town or even a country gets blasted out of the net, the net keeps working, cos it just routs around the dead zones.


that's what i'm talking about