Wearing Technology? Learn about the latest in how designers incorporate tech into their designs!

What Tech are you Wearing? Check out what Designers are Weaving into Their Threads!

This month, while we take a quick trip down memory lane, we will also stride forward into fashion + technology. If you can believe it, way back when as fledgling dragons, the DD team was already exploring interactive fashion. With lights, motors, and sensors in the form of LittleBits (prior to their acquisition by Sphero), Digital Dragon workshoppers would not only design, but also showcase their gizmo’d out garments. As memory serves me, these were always great sessions and the imagination and creativity of our young minds were on full display.  

Flash forward to March 2022 and I find myself in the thralls of it all again. Recently the Pittsburgh’s MuseumLab, part of the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum’s cultural campus, opened an exhibit called “How You Wear It.”  As a partner w/ the MuseumLab, my team and I were approached to create an augmented reality version of a dress that will be displayed.  Naturally, one can assume that this would not end up being any ordinary dress. Several pieces for the exhibit were created by Fashion Tech designer Anouk Wipprecht.

Photo @anoukwipprecht

Anouk has worked internationally with clients like Audi, Autodesk, and Adidas, and Adafruit to just stay in the As. One of the pieces present in Pittsburgh is her 2012 Smoke Dress. Because this is an installation, smoke cannot be released continuously per guest visit. Besides the obvious too much smoke in an enclosed space, there are a number of other reasons displaying the signature interaction is not viable. Here’s where mixed reality technology comes into play! Our team, using 3D models from Anouk (the same ones she 3D printed the dress from), created smoke and light simulations to be viewed via an iPad mini. This way, we can safely run the dress as it’s meant to be experienced for as long as the battery lasts. The simulation was created using Unity’s particle systems. The result impressed on the soft opening exposé and as a result we will be expanding upon the mixed reality collaborations to Anouk’s other dresses for the exhibit.  

Check out Anouk’s Instagram for more photos and videos!


TLDR; From Digital Dragon’s humble beginnings with Fashion Tech through Little Bits to a professional exhibit and collaboration with a world renowned fashion designer, it is clear that Fashion Tech will continue to grow. Most recently at SXSW 2022, wearables have trended including more practical washable tech. With the rise in mixed reality glasses, Snap filters, and all the like, how will this impact the fashion scene? Will you soon be wearing the same outfit as your avatar?  

About the Author:

John Balash was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now back in the fold as a consultant on all the latest and greatest in tech education.This is John’s latest contribution to a monthly blog series we’ve launched, Tech News from the Frontier. John is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally-focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.