I am sure that by now everyone has heard about a project called WEAR Sustain. Managed by a consortium of seven organisations across five EU countries, it is the catalyst bringing much needed attention to the development of sustainability wearables.
Launched earlier this year, the WEAR Sustain project received €2.4 million in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The EU’s financial support is making it possible for WEAR Sustain to not only raise awareness around the need for eco-friendly wearable tech, but is also allowing them to give 48 teams, made up of designers and engineers, €50,000 each to come up with prototypes of next generation sustainable wearables and e-textiles.
WearSustain: The Results Are In
The first 23 projects funded through the WEAR Sustain first Open Call for spring 2017 have been recently announced, and they are:
Brawas: mBrainTrain has created one of the reportedly dream devices of the wearable future: BRAWAS – a smart headphone with a mood-based music recommender. It helps people increase productivity and decrease stress in their personal and professional life, while being seamlessly blended into their daily routine. With Brawas, they are entering the new and the fastest growing smart wearables category – hearable devices, and opening our way to the consumers world.
Breafree: In order to revolutionize the way of how citizens protect themselves from air pollution, the Breafree product is a “blue ocean product” e.g. a non-existent on the market. It provides an effective protection without covering the face. According to Breafree, it is their vision of an effective air pollution mask, which is comfortable and is rather perceived as a fashion accessory than a complicated air filtering device. It should bring positive connotations while alerting about the unhealthy levels of the air pollution. The nose-mouth area is freed from bulky parts and made of transparent material. This novelty design aims to enhance the face of the wearer instead of masking it.
Breath!: This is a wearable and smart garments collection born to aid people to perform proper breathing during Yoga practice and everyday life. In the practice of Yoga and even more in Pilates, the teacher guides student vocally throughout the lesson, bringing her/him to see as much as possible his own body, muscles, heartbeat, posture, but above all: breathing.
Bria: Collaboration between BRIA and Martine Jarlgaard London to design and make a range of sustainability garments from recyclable cellulose-based materials, which can then be completely dissolved in chemical solutions at the end of their use, and the fibres can be reclaimed from these solutions and recycled into other cellulosic fibres, such as viscose (which is 100% cellulose and therefore biodegradable). The aim is to produce a fashion range that maximises the circular aspects of production and recycling, whilst choosing the most ethical and non-toxic chemical processes to dissolve the garments and reconstitute the fibres into usable yarns.
Closed Loop: Their collection of smart athleisure fashion collection is based on previous work of Marina Toeters and Margreet de Kok. Via 3 iterations they developed a smart shirt that continuously measures the wearers’ key vital signals based on Holst Centre’s advanced printed sensor technologies on flexible substrates for textile integration. The laminated sensors are truly wearable, comfortable, robust, invisible during use, washable up to 25 cycles, and designed for unobtrusive integration in conventional fashion production.
Constructing Connectivity: The project seeks to create an engaging, creative, and interactive rehabilitation platform for patients suffering from stroke and its related physical and mental debilitations.
The Eye: The device will be for blind and visually impaired people. The Eye, i.e. the wearable camera together with the EyeSense application running on a smart phone will enable the blind and visually impaired person to detect and recognise people and objects.
iBreve: Based on 5 sustainability pillars, iBreve project is about creating a vision to create a world free of stress related diseases.
Kobakant: The KOBA Maßschneiderei is an electronic textile tailor shop where anybody can place an order for custom-made wearable technology garments and accessories. By offering a place for individuals to commission tailor-made technology, in a society used to one-size-fits-all, they pose the question of “what can technology do for you?”.
The Meditation Lab: It is a Experimenter Kit is a toolset for monitoring, enhancing and sharing meditation experiences. The kit consists of a wearable and software.
MiMu: The MiMu glove technology has the power to create an entire musical composition using just the fingertips.
Mycotex: Aniela Hoitink and her team’s aim is to integrate technology in a fully biodegradable mushroom mycelium textile, so after usage, the wearer can simply compost the material and collect the remaining electronics for recycling.
Quietude: This is a product that is designed in an ecology of jewellery products and accessories that enhance the experience of deaf women in a sound-oriented world.
Ride Q: It is an innovative wearable riding instructor capable of giving the rider intuitive feedback, on what body part to move and by how much, to have the correct seat and be in balance.
Sensewear: It is a wearable developed for both kids and adults. The Sensewear project represents the shift from the notion of ‘cure’ to the notion of ‘care’, where monitoring, treatment and therapies are unobtrusive and respectful of the dignity of the individual.
Solemaker: Solemaker.io is a platform for creating a new way to think about shoes. Starting from a scan, the wearers information is encoded into the online design software.
Textile Reflexes: This project aims to further develop the shape changing textile developed by Hellen van Rees. They are plan to do this by taking textiles as the basis in our prototype and adding the technology in a subtle way they aim to create a familiarity to the user.
The Anthropocene: This is a project is a collaborative venture in which the use of a smart belt in a location-based alternate reality game will help to raise awareness about human impact on the environment.
Tinker: It is an Interactive smart massage shoe. The technology is seamlessly integrated into the shoe to provide a customised massage experience controlled via a smart phone providing comfort and aiding wellbeing. The sensor technology allows the user to measure feedback and customise different massage sensations . The product was created with the end user in mind to provide the benefit of comfort elating wearers health for preventative health care.
Perfect Pointe Shoes: With the aim to use 3D printing to scan a dancer’s foot and then generate a custom fitted ballet pointe shoe, their designs are not only focused on creating the perfectly fitted pointe shoe but also on using on the redesign of the pointe shoe to create long lasting solutions for dancers. Their objective is to allow them to quickly change the feel of the shoe but also replenish performance if the shoe is worn out. This is achieved through an efficient redesign of the pointe shoes.
WEARFLEX: It is a smart shirt made-up of PLA filament and embodies a flexible screen with that shows smartphone notifications. The flexible textile screen with conductive and electroluminescent inks shows smartphone notifications such as incoming calls, messages, alarms, etc.
Wisp: It is a female tech startup, developing IoT (internet of things wearables). With the aim to be the “Fitbit for Foreplay ”, they have combined fashion and sensual technology and provide a range of personal experiences. Wisp aims at empowering women by improving their intimate sensations.
Zishi: They are designing smart garment systems to support rehabilitation training and help to maintain correct posture in daily life. They aim on coming up with a comfortable, functional, fashionable solution with merging state-of-the-art sensors and textiles, and providing effective and engaging feedback through different modalities. Their iinteractive wearable systems are designed for movement and posture monitoring during upper body rehabilitation and prevention. When it comes to the design of Zishi, they have taken into account user experience, sensing technology, measurement solution, multi-modality feedback, wearability and clinical reliability. They have also designed an online platform for customization of the garment and the service so that end-users could determine how their privacy will be protected in terms of data storing and processing.
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.