Since most of my educational background is in art i thought it would be cool to bring some examples of wearable tech from art to the table.
Stelarc is a pretty wild artist who has been manipulating his body for the sake of art since the 1970s. He is conceptually interested in ideas of a permeable body, avatars, and the body’s relationship to the world in which it resides. Here are a couple of his more interesting pieces:
Stelarc created a robotic third hand which he controls using muscles in his left leg. This piece is as much about the robotics of the piece as it is about Stelarc’s ability to train himself to use the third hand (which he can, quite well).
The concept of this piece is that instead of capturing human motion and playing that motion on a virtual avatar, Stelarc captures the motion of the virtual body and plays that motion on himself, using pneumatics and transcutaneous electro-muscular stimulation. Very interesting work in terms of redefining human/computer interaction.
Though not too focused on technology, this piece definitely brings up the question of what it means to “wear” something and what constitutes our “body”. As of now the Stelarc has a cartilage ear implanted in his arm, in which, when medically plausible, he plans to place a microphone and bluetooth transmitter, so as to make it a functional third ear.
I also recently visited the MOMA in NYC where there was an awesome exhibit called Talk To Me that explored recent works whose themes include, but are not limited to, the role of technology in daily life, human interaction as mediated by technology, and interactions between machines. The website has info on all of the pieces, but here are a couple of the more pertinent ones for our class:
Consists of a suit the user wears which films them from behind and plays that feed in front of them, simulating the experience of playing as yourself in a video game.
A collar linked to one’s mobile phone that tightens with each call or text.
A belt designed to be worn by men and children that simulates the pain (via electrodes) and bleeding (via a blood dispensing system) of a 5 day menstrual period.