I recently came across Elana Langer’s work on the Earring Aid again. I remember, in 2014, being inspired by not only her work but also by her ability to think outside the box when it came to turning the everyday hearing aid into the kind of accessory that a glamour puss would love to wear.
She made a fashion statement by successfully showing how hearing aids can be transformed and personalised into an accessory that does not need to be concealed behind one’s ear or hair. Since Elana debuted her blingy earpiece, there has been several other startups that have turned the necessary tools of life into fashionable wearables. Here are three stylish innovators.
3D Printed Wheelchair
Companies such as London based Layer Design founded Benjamin Hubert, have come up with a whole new concept to the term ‘made to measure’ with their stylish 3D printed wheelchair named ‘Go’.
It took two years of research before Layer Design came up with a wheelchair that boasts a custom form seat and foot-bay that is driven by 3D digital data derived from mapping each user’s biometric information. Accurately fitting the individual’s body shape, weight and disability, the 3D printed wheelchair is available with an accompanying GO app that will allow users to participate in the design process by specifying optional elements, patterns and colourways, and to place orders. With 3D printing still struggling to create practical clothing, Go is a great achievement because it is truly both functional and fashionable.
Wearables Fluent In Autism
For those who live with autism Reveal, created by Awake Labs, is a handsome wearable that measures and tracks anxiety so loved ones can better understand the behavior of a sufferer. Designed to prevent meltdowns, Reveal measures and tracks physiological signals in real time using state of the art sensors that are combined with an advanced algorithm to measure and track physiological signals. We love that it has the ability to notify the parent, caregiver, teacher, or therapist about changes in physiological signals. Fashionably functional, we definitely need more wearables such as Reveal.
Technology That Feels The Music
Stylishly Translating Music For Those Hard of Hearing, Cute Circuit came up with an innovative creation designed to help those who are hard of hearing to ‘feel’ music. Providing deaf people with a whole new way of internalizing something they cannot hear, the shirt works by different notes creating distinct feelings across areas of the garment. With several patents pending and awarded, CEO Ryan Genz recently explained the ins and outs of how the sound shirt works to Fortune, “We mapped intuitively how we thought the music would map to the body.”
With milestones that include having their Galaxy Dress as part of the Permanent Collection of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and their iMiniSkirt as part of the Digital Revolution exhibition of the Barbican Museum in London, the sky seems to be the limit for CuteCircuit founders, Ryan and Francesca, who also shared that they envision the Sound Shirt being possibly used for other endeavours such as gaming, so watch this space!
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.