2 Books

October 10, 2009

Seymour, Sabine.  Fashionable Technology.  SpringerWeinNew York: Austria 2008

This text is an initiation into fashionable technology.  FT combines ‘hard’ technology and ‘soft’ textiles.  The author poses that since clothing is our second skin, it should be responsive to it.  The book is mostly an inspirational and imaginative picture book, but there is actually a bit of theory and good information.  It is all about clothing, but the technologies are applicable to any use of textiles.

This book has many, many sources that are all online and have to do with cutting edge projects.


Theoretical Discourse

-Fashionable Technology: the intersection of design, fashion, science, and technology

These combine wearables that combine aesthetics with functional technology

The unlimited potential of these garments as communication and other dynamic ‘amplifiers of fantasy’.


Wearable technology must also be publicly acceptable, or else it does not fit the context


Physical functions or social or psychological functions

‘Second skin’

There is a range of functional to expressive wearables

-Degree of Body & Technology integration




-Technology: the weaving process corresponds to the 0 and 1 binary logic of computer circuitry

-Wearable computing

These are interactive and operational that are controlled and on the person of the user

-Embedded Technologies: application based on context

-Inputs: actively by the user, or passively by the environment

-Textile sensors

Perfect for integration into textiles.  Close to the body to work.

-Embedded sensors


Garments can affect all of our senses


This can now occur through technology

-Ubiquitous Computing

‘Pervasive computing’; In clothing it can truly be always there

-Wireless Communication

A serious list of possibilities

-On the body

“PAN” – personal area network


-Electronic Textiles

A textile substrate that incorporates capabilities for sensing, communication, power transmission, and interconnection technology that allow for their connection through fabric.

-Nanotechnology and Microfibers

This is molecular technology that can be applied post production or during the manufacturing process


Technology in which the properties of nature are mimicked.


-Alternative energy

Solar, body energy..but this sustainable approach has a long ways to go

-Garment Construction

-Design Considerations

Based on body ergonomics, perception, functionality, technology, materials, energy, and environmental impact

-Garment Interfaces


Changeable nature



The nature of fashion wearables requires the integration of multiple disciplines

-Life Cycles

A match of the life cycles must be made.

-Recycling and health

Batteries are NOT a good system

Kurzwell, Ray.  The Age of Spiritual Machines.  Viking; New York, NY 1999

Kurzwell discusses the inexorably evolutionary expansion of intelligence.  The point of the text is that intelligence is not a human trait, but something that is beyond our understanding and a force of its own.  Evolution is written of as if it were alive and sentient, but also that it is inexorable.

Kurzwell explains the history of the universe; he discusses the relationship of time to chaos, which is that time slows during the absence of chaos, and accelerates during chaos.  This is connected with Kurzwell’s law of accelerated return, which suggests an exponential growth in intelligence.

Computers are intelligent tools; they are an inevitable creation of evolution.  They are not separate from humans, but connected, and in the future will be reconnected, literally, with their creators.  Humans and computers will be more intertwined than ever imagined.  Their power is currently being measured in calculations, but this and other measures are not sufficient to measure how intelligent they are.  The boundaries will be blurred, and simulations, reality, will be questioned.

There is an inexorable movement towards higher and higher intelligence.  Computers are part of this evolution.  We still have the power to shape our future and our future technology; how will we choose to grow?  Intelligence may overcome the natural forces of the universe by altering the rules themselves.  How will we define human?  How will we define intelligence?


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