• Amelia W

Crazy Innovations, Clever Sustainability... And Fashion?

Another month, another daze of confusion in the world of the weird and wonderful. September did not disappoint us when it came to creative use of technology (for better or worse). Let's have a look at the cool/strange things you may have missed shall we?

A sense of fashion

Tesla Suit Up For Gaming

The company is about to change the game forever with their Teslasuit, a full-body haptic smart wearable that provides gamers with more immersive VR and AR experiences. The suit is wire-free, offers motion capture and climate control, and has a biometric system that uses machine learning to analyze a user’s stress levels, heart rate, and even emotional state to create experiences that are more deeply tailored to the user (like bumping into a wall, touching an object, or the impact of a punch in AR/VR settings).

While the suit isn’t yet available to the public, Tesla are collaborating with game developers to find ways to integrate the suit into gameplay. As of last fall the suit was already compatible with the game engines Unreal and Unity3D, making it possible for developers to incorporate the suit into their games. ⠀⠀ This reminds us a lot of the Black Mirror episode ‘Playtest’, where a young fellow lands a job as a tester for a game company that specializes in survival horror games which turns out to be the worst gig of his life. Yeesh.

Beatrice Sangster-Bullers Creates the Mood Ring of Clothes

Ever heard of emotional intelligent clothing? Us neither, but it turns out it’s a thing now. ⠀⠀ Central Saint Martins fashion graduate Beatrice Sangster-Bullers has created The Order of The Singularity, a collection which integrates artificial intelligence into garments to display the wearer's emotions. ⠀⠀ How does this work you ask? Well, the graduate collection combines AI technology with smart materials to create wearable clothing by integrating sensors into the garments using algorithms to map the wearer's current mental state. The wearer can then select what visual output they project onto their clothing, depending on their mood, allowing them to communicate their feelings visually on the surface of the garment. ⠀⠀ Beatrice used a mixture of sustainable materials including Singtex (made from coffee grounds), SympaTex (an alternative to Goretex) and reclaimed nylon sourced from previous graduates to create the garments. ⠀⠀ Models were also given an electroencephalogram (EEG) neuro-feedback headgear device fitted with four electrodes that measure their brain waves to detect the state of their thoughts. The EEG device is linked via Bluetooth to a screen interface fitted into the chest of some of the garments. Algorithms convert the EEG signals into audio and visual outputs, allowing users to hear and see their brainwave data in real-time on their tablets or smartphones. ⠀⠀ Beatrice based the collection on the concept of "the technological singularity" – the theory that humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence. ⠀⠀ About the collection she said “The collection develops on the idea that clothing can be programmable matter that thinks as we think, and can live and sense as we do, to re-think the human condition in the modern world.” Pretty cool. Really weird.

The Innovation We Didn't Realize We Need

A Dam Good Idea Have you seen the flying fish meme circulating on social media recently? Wondering what it’s all bout? Ok so: ⠀⠀ Dams block rivers to create hydropower, which is a source of sustainable energy (this is good) But they stop fish being able to swim back upstream to where they spawned in order to reproduce (this is not good). ⠀⠀ With this increasing problem in mind, Seattle-based company Whooshh started working towards developing better technology to help fish migrate over dams. The solution? The “Whooshh Passage Portal” - their latest all-in-one system for fish passage. ⠀⠀ The fish swim into the system mounted on a floating bridge via a ramp, which then slides them back down into a scanner. The scanning machine takes 18 rapid-fire images, measuring the length and girth of each fish to determine whether they are from a hatchery or wild, or even an invasive species. The AI sorts the fish accordingly, with invasive species released, and the remaining fish routed according to their size. Using AI means the system's scanning and sorting algorithms can be improved and updated easily, and the fish don't need to be handled by humans. Depending on the length of the tube the journey takes around 10 to 20 seconds, and is a considerably more effective solution than the existing ladders or tanks transporting the fish over the dams. It’s also every 8-year-old kid’s biggest dream (and ours, let’s be real).

Sustainability Is Tastier Than Ever

Feel The Peel Lets You Have Your Orange And Eat It Too Italian studio Carlo Ratti Associati has developed a circular orange juice bar that turns the waste fruit peel into 3D-printed bioplastic cups to drink the contents from. ⠀⠀ Cleverly called “Feel the Peel”, the 3.10-metre-tall experimental juice bar is a prototype orange-squeezing machine that aims to bring circular design into everyday life. It’s topped by a circular dome filled with 1,500 oranges, and when someone orders a juice, the oranges slide down into the squeezer where they are cut in half and juiced. After being juiced, the leftover orange peel falls into a see-through compartment at the bottom of the machine. The collected rinds are then dried and milled to make "orange dust", which is mixed with polylactic acid to form a bioplastic material, then heated and melted to form a filament, which is fed through a 3D printer incorporated into the machine. The cup can then be recycled after use, to complete the circular design. ⠀⠀ Ratti explains that the next iterations of Feel the Peel might include new functions, such as printing fabric for clothing from orange peel. This is circularity at its very best.

Washing Up Liquid That's Too Good To Waste

Who knew that recycling + beer = high quality cleaning products? Last week, Belgian company Ecover announced that they’ve been working together with a Belgian beer manufacturer to include brewery waste ingredients into its new washing up liquid, available at Whole Foods, Amazon and Ocado. The formula includes at least 25% waste ingredients from the beer brewing process (water + ethanol), the bottle is made of 100% PCR recycled plastic and the cap is made of 50% PCR recycled plastic. And the product is produced in Ecover’s newly certified zero waste factory. ⠀⠀ Ecover spokesman Tom Domen said "There is so much more that needs to be done but making use of leftover ingredients and recycled materials has to be the future.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Cubitts Save The Planet.. With Glasses

In an effort to explore more sustainable forms of manufacturing, British eyewear company Cubitts has created a collection of experimental specs made of waste materials (including potatoes, yoghurt pots, sheep’s wool and human hair). ⠀⠀ The company wanted to go a step further from the traditional repairs and renewals, and demonstrate that not only can broken specs be saved from the tip, but that the materials found in a tip can become new specs. ⠀⠀ The collection consists of 10 prototype designs, but the company is optimistic that many of the materials could at some stage be used to produce frames for sale. “If our other materials pass the minimum testing requirements, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t roll them out into commercial collections,” Cubitts founder Tom Broughton explained. Expect to see us in potato made glasses soon.

To learn more about the weird and wonderful things happening in culture, check our Instagram @world__wide__weird

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