Philips Design Probes - I am becoming my Avatar
After blogging IBM's avances into virtual Fashion , it's yet another Fashion blogpost. This time from Philips. It seems fashion is getting fashionable in the Tech industry.
This time it's not a coproduction, but the presentation of a new Philips Product: Fractal - Living Jewelry.
Read more on Philips - Living Jewelry.
Why limit yourself to a few beads or earrings when you can slip on a full-body 'living jewelry' suit that also changes in response to your behavior and mood? Introducing Fractal, the latest expression of the Philips Design SKIN Probes program …
Fractal is a stunning, figure-hugging outfit consisting entirely of huge imitation jewels augmented by pulsing LEDs. By incorporating sensors that measure movement, excitement levels and proximity of others - and using this input to alter the intensity of its integrated lighting - Fractal essentially becomes an extension of the body. It also serves as a platform for exploring emotional sensing.
Over the course of last year, Philips has organised a number of Design Probe sessions in Second Life, in which they presented a number of concepts they were working on and discussed these with us, see Designing the Future 1a and Designing the Future 1b on this blog for detailed transcripts.
Under the title "Don't predict the Future, design it!" we discussed three themes back in august 2007, which were:
- The future of self-expression
- The future of packaging
- The future of clothing
These brainstorm sessions have been a huge success for Philips, said Slava Kozlov at the 3rd Eduverse symposium last month. Not that we've actually invented new products for them, but as Slava added yesterday on twitter:
"As always in case of probes, it is difficult to point to a direct influence; it's a logical line from earlier 'emotional dress' concept. However, I feel that Second Life in general made a large impact on the designers' way of thinking "
The Electronic Tattoo
It's hard to say if Fractal, or the living Jewelry as you like, fits in one, two or all three of the above categories. A second project has been the Electronic Tattoo, which clearly falls under the self-expression category.
Tattoos and physical mutilation are amongst the oldest forms of personal expression and identity. Subcultures have used tattoos as a form of self representation; a visual language communicating personality and status. Philips Design examined the growing trend of extreme body adornment like tattoos, piercing, implants and scarring.
Read more - Philips Electronic Tattoos, including a cool video about the tattoos.
I am Becoming my Avatar
In Second Life we often see people trying to shape their avatar as much as possible to their Real Life appearance -kinda counts for beach babes and sixpack Joe's I guess) or the other way around, people shaping their avatar in their ideal sort of way and then try to become like this ultimate adonis in real life too. With this combined technology Philips will provide the change to bring this a step closer. Soon we will be able to project those textures and skins from Second Life on our own skins and clothing.
Off course, that is not the idea behind these projects. It is ultimately about sustainability, but also has commercial ends:
The relationship between the human body, apparel and the near environment is seen as one of the next big challenges. That is why explorations in this area can help build up essential knowledge that could serve as valuable input for future business activities. There could even be shorter-term spin-offs. "In Fractal we’re taking LED light, which can feel harsh and cold, and experimenting with it," says Van Heerden. "We pulse it at different speeds, making it appear quickly and fade slowly, and also diffract it through various materials. The result is warmer and more comforting, something that could be very interesting to our Lighting division."