Shannon Hoover says: hello!
Sophi Kravitz says: We'll be discussing Fashion Tech. Shannon and Kath, can you introduce yourselves?
Shannon Hoover says: Sure, I'm Shannon Hoover, co founder of MakeFashion - we've been doing runway shows around the world and have developed over 200 fashion tech pieces
Shannon Hoover says: also run a makerspace and have run several maker faires as well
Kath Blair says: HI! I'm Kath, I'm one of the designers who's been working with Make Fashion since the first show in 2013
Sophi Kravitz says: What is MakeFashion working on right now? Where is your studio -atelier?- located?
Kath Blair says: I'm also currently working on my Master of Fine Arts Degree at the University of Calgary, working on art about Algorithms and Society, and I'm applying for a PhD program in Computational Media Design for the fall.
Shannon Hoover says: To be clear, I assist designers with pieces and host the shows, people like Kath actually design and do most of the work
we work with designers in many countries, so our base in Calgary is at the Fuse33 makerspace
but we pop up in makerpaces and studios all over the place :)
right now we are developing a fashion tech kit that is actually on kickstarter right now - stitchkit.io
Kath Blair says: And we (designers) come there (to Fuse 33) to work a lot, get feedback and help, and work together
I'm starting to work on a project I hope might be in a future Make Fashion show about controlling my mood via a wearable piece.
Kath Blair says: I can answer!
I didn't actually know how to sew and my first Make Fashion piece was the first thing I'd ever sewn.
I asked for a lot of help and tried to read the manual and go slow to use my sewing machine
And I bought a reference piece of clothing to take apart instead of working from a pattern, so I could see how it had been put together.
Shannon Hoover says: my sewing skills are really poor, but I can run a glue gun. Part of what makes MakeFashion work is building teams with a variety of expertise. We try and pair projects with volunteers that have a wide variety of skills
Kath Blair says: And I bought a reference piece of clothing to take apart instead of working from a pattern, so I could see how it had been put together.
Sophi Kravitz says: where do you find volunteers?
Shannon Hoover says: MakeFashion puts a community call out and people join in to learn
Kath Blair says: There's actually a great fashion school in town, I've worked with some people there too who joined up through Shannon's call
Sophi Kravitz says: in Calgary or in all the places you are?
Shannon Hoover says: We do it in all the places we go
generally work with whoever is hosting the event to put the call out, then we step in and assist
Sophi Kravitz says: Second question is from @Stephen : What power supplies and power supply designs have you found most (and least) effective for running wearable tech that can last a full evening or more?
Nayeli says: What about chargers and connectors???
What kind of them do you use?
Shannon Hoover says: normally we do shows as part of a larger event like a Maker Faire or a fashion week
Shannon Hoover says: chargers? Do you mean batteries?
Kath Blair says: For chargers I use power banks if I can and just USB connectors
Nayeli says: yes, batteries and connectors
Shannon Hoover says: we have moved over mostly to power banks - when you fly with 20 fashion tech pieces, the airline will take away all of your lipo batteries
Kath Blair says: I've had to use other batteries (12v RC batteries) if I need to run power hungry servos though.
But yeah the airlines HATE that
Nayeli says: yes!! i know
Angela Sheehan says: I'm curious about the wearability of power banks and how you solve for that. Battery placement is a big challenge for some pieces, especially small works.
Shannon Hoover says: so as much as possible we try and source power banks locally - our board uses a USB type c connector so we can run more current from the power banks
Kath Blair says: For placement, I try to plan it into the piece, and use a battery that is a good balance of reasonable size and reasonable capacity
Shannon Hoover says: most of our designers sew in pockets that fit a specific type of power bank
Kath Blair says: So sometimes it means you need a giant headdress or neck piece on your otherwise tiny piece
Sophi Kravitz says: can we see a photo of the pocket?
Shannon Hoover says: batteries are definitely one of the biggest issues with fashion tech, type-c power banks solve some of the problems
I'm not sure we would have any pictures of the pockets to be honest, not normally the thing that comes out in a photo shoot!
Sophi Kravitz says: related then, any thoughts on the safety aspects of people “wearing” so many lithium batteries?
(but if you have photos of the pocket later, I'd love to see)
Shannon Hoover says: Yes, safety is a massive concern
Sophi Kravitz says: do people wear fire extinguishers?
Kath Blair says: For my first piece, I put them in a fireproof bag.
Shannon Hoover says: we take a very hard stance against setting people on fire
James Lewis says: Lol
Sophi Kravitz says: (that was a joke)
Kath Blair says: But I was wearing 12 12v lipo batteries
Sophi Kravitz says: eeeeeee
Sophi Kravitz says: scary
Kath Blair says: And I've used alarms you can plug in so you know when to turn them off
Angela Sheehan says: @Sophi Kravitz brings up a really good point about lithium batteries, especially when talking about wearables with kids, this is one of the main concerns when I work with schools through education outreach
Nayeli says: Do you think in a possible washable solution for USB connector? Maybe magnetic or something like this?
Shannon Hoover says: once we had two different boards that used the same JST connector but they were reversed on one of the boards
Arsenijs says: Ouch
Shannon Hoover says: so if you switched the batteries you'd short it out
James Lewis says: sounds like when, not if ;)
Arsenijs says: I wonder if you could've resoldered the connector to the other side of the board
Sophi Kravitz says: I hate that connector (irrational, I know)
Shannon Hoover says: so we changes ALL of our battery connectors to be common, and then we moved to power banks
washable USB - right now we remove tech before washing
Kath Blair says: One of the other washability things is not just the water, but the movement.
Shannon Hoover says: so we make it so the boards and battery can be removed, the LEDs as well if possible, although there are lots of waterproof LEDs
yea, tumble dry = broken fashion tech piece
Nemanja Stefanovic says: if so much current is being used, what do you use for the wiring? is it usually regular copper wires hidden away or conductive thread you can sew?
Nayeli says: Omg, i didnt´t think in the natural movement
Angela Sheehan says: Have you done any washability and durability tests on different hardware? That's always something I'd be interested in seeing the community share out as they find new data and solutions.
Shannon Hoover says: a good idea is to have a tech layer that can be taken out when the garment is cleaned.
Boian Mitov says: Do you design some clothes to be synchronized/communicate with each other?
Shannon Hoover says: We haven't done any durability tests, although we have had pieces that have shown for 4 years
Boian Mitov says: or to be controlled from other software
Kath Blair says: I've tried to do communication
And others have done phones and things
Like bluetooth, that works really well.
Boian Mitov says: I was thinking a real IoT of wearables :-D
Kath Blair says: Yeah, I've been trying to get there.
Boian Mitov says: Like clothes that talk to each other and do synchronized effects etc.
zakqwy says: what kind of current draw is typical? are you usually looking at a few amps continuous?
Boian Mitov says: Cool :-)
[skaarj] says: (magic smoke communications should be avoided)
zakqwy says: wowsers. that is a lot.
Shannon Hoover says: that piece had it's own power distribution framework - I think it had batteries
Boian Mitov says: Mark the guy that did the Coka Cola sign in NY was in the Hackaday chat couple of months ago
Shannon Hoover says: 8 batteries rather
Sophi Kravitz says: Next question is about power from @[skaarj] : I am working to wire a military tactic assault vest and connect some devices such as a digital multimeter, two...three raspi 3+LCD+touch, a lcd oscilloscope, and I am also looking forward for the result to be both cool (in fashion way) and practical (for example to work at height). That vest has a lot of pockets so I can fit a lot of Li-Ion Batteries, a huge charger, a power distribution unit and whatever peripherals I need to do my work. and I aim for it to look cool and also to be practical... and technical. Are there any such ideas among you Fashion Tech guys?
Kath Blair says: Yeah I was thinking about BLE mesh but it was too early when I was doing that thing. Thanks for the tip!
Boian Mitov says: he has developed the leading stage etc. lighting solution in the world
Sophi Kravitz says: that question is more about pocket distribution than power but...
Boian Mitov says: I was thinking if some of your clothes can link, and synchronize with stage effects... ;-)
I can help with some of the communication etc.
Shannon Hoover says: Yes, we are working on practical solutions for problems, although that generally isn't our focus - we have the luxury of being story tellers rather than developing something for sale
Boian Mitov says: I also just pinged Martin to see what he thinks of the idea
I understand :-)
and of course runway shows, and interacting with audiences is something we think would be very fun
Boian Mitov says: I am not proposing a commercial product necessarily, but to make something really cool, that makes people talk about it ;-)
Shannon Hoover says: yea, and choreographed dancers, lots of opportunity for exploration there
Boian Mitov says: I think it will be supper cool
Kath Blair says: For the pocket distribution, I think you can make that look cool! You can always either hide them inside, or in the tactical context, just go with it. It's always about distributing weight / bulk.
[skaarj] says: I was thinking about tools
Boian Mitov says: especially if lighting effects etc. are mixed with some animatronics in the clothing :-)
[skaarj] says: sometimes I work on heights and I always have to hang stuff of my neck
Sophi Kravitz says: moving onto the tools in pockets question: I am working to wire a military tactic assault vest and connect some devices such as a digital multimeter, two...three raspi 3+LCD+touch, a lcd oscilloscope, and I am also looking forward for the result to be both cool (in fashion way) and practical (for example to work at height). That vest has a lot of pockets so I can fit a lot of Li-Ion Batteries, a huge charger, a power distribution unit and whatever peripherals I need to do my work. and I aim for it to look cool and also to be practical... and technical. Are there any such ideas among you Fashion Tech guys?
[skaarj] says: Thank you
Angela Sheehan says: @Boian Mitov that's a super compelling idea that there is definitely lots of talk around in performance circles I belong to. Everyone is very curious about augmented performance projects and ideas.
Kath Blair says: I tried to address the pockets, did this make sense / answer appropriately? For the pocket distribution, I think you can make that look cool! You can always either hide them inside, or in the tactical context, just go with it. It's always about distributing weight / bulk.
Sophi Kravitz says: exciting!
Kath Blair says: As I said, it's really distribution of the weight that is hard. Or that I find challenging.
Shannon Hoover says: I think I sort of answered the assault vest question - we are just beginning to work on that sort of thing - but making it look cool will increase adoption!
Kath Blair says: Sucks to have your skirt pulled down by your batteries!
Sophi Kravitz says: Next question?
Shannon Hoover says: Yea, Pixmob does some great stuff!
[skaarj] says: SATCOMM going down, thank you Sophi, thank you guys
Shannon Hoover says:*wave*
Sophi Kravitz says: OK! Next question is about sourcing materials: Where do you like to source materials such as conductive thread/yarn and fabrics from? Are the conductive threads harder to work with or require special sewing machines?
bye @[skaarj] !
Shannon Hoover says:I kind of hate conductive thread because I have to repair it before each show...
Kath Blair says:I tend not to use conductive thread and yarn, because it's not very durable, so unless you use it as a sensor, it's not worth it to me.
Sophi Kravitz says:I kind of hate it because it never works right (breaks)
Sophi Kravitz says:ok then... not recommended
Sophi Kravitz says: moving on :)
Sophi Kravitz says: Next question: Which biofeedback sensors have you had the most success and the most fun with? What would you suggest starting with for a first time biofeedback fashion tech designer?
Shannon Hoover says:yea, conductive thread is a good idea that hasn't arrived yet - if someone finds some that actually works, let me know please! :)
Kath Blair says: I LOVE using EEG headsets
Kath Blair says: I've used two, and the ones from Neurosky
Kath Blair says: For easiest maybe accelerometers or temperature
Angela Sheehan says: I just got to try using a Neurosky this week that someone was using in a project, really interested opportunities there
Shannon Hoover says: Easiest biofeedback would be acellerometer, or maybe temperature (although that's hard to baseline correctly)
Shannon Hoover says: but my favourite sensor is the ultrasonic range finder
Shannon Hoover says: but that's not biofeedback
Shannon Hoover says: we've used heart rate sensors, temperature sensors, skin conductivity... All of those worked well
zakqwy says: ever use any other medical device-ish sensors, like a pulse oximeter?
Angela Sheehan says: I hear a lot of asks from schools about using heart rate in projects, have you worked with pulse sensing and found reliable methods to corporate that into projects?
Stephen says: I've used EEG is previous projects and have found them to add more a variable of randomness than intentionality into the reactions. Is there a specific thing you like to have the EEGs control?
Kath Blair says: I usually use the Attention levels which the Neurosky spits out.
Boian Mitov says: @Angela Sheehan Thank you! :-) I actually think I have developed a solution that makes this type of stuff extremely easy, and I would love to adapt it even better for this type of purpose :-) . I dream of the time when creating such type of stuff, and programming it all to work together will be something anyone can do in just few minutes! :-)
Kath Blair says: I find that one is pretty easy to control intentionally
Shannon Hoover says: although here's a secret - on the runway we almost always have pieces running in demo mode, and then flip them into interactive mode after the show...
Shannon Hoover says: because if it's gonna fail, you KNOW it will fail as soon as everyone is watching
Angela Sheehan says: That's a good trick, I've used that in showpieces - keeps them reliable!
Kath Blair says: I have also had pretty good luck with pulses sensors worn on the ear. I find if you can keep them still, that makes it easier, which is easier for me to do on my ear.
Stephen says: What cool things have you done with the ultrasonic range finder?
Boian Mitov says: Hmmm.... it all starts to sound like a wearable lie detector... :-D
Kath Blair says: And no one can tell what the input is on a runway situation anyway. But watching people trying to control an EEG piece I've made in demos is just so fun. Or watching models in photoshoots when it's on live mode :D
Shannon Hoover says: we had one designer do a 'personal space' piece, that if you got too close the garment would appear nervous
Shannon Hoover says: more flashy, more red, the closer you got
Sophi Kravitz says: cool!
Shannon Hoover says: we also used it for a simple control system, once you learn the distances it becomes very easy to reliably control a piece by waving your hand over a surface
Stephen says: I'm a social butterfly, I'd have to put the warning alarms on when peopl are too far so they know to come and hang out with me :p
James Lewis says: I would like to wear a shirt everyday that got red when people come closer to me.
Sophi Kravitz says: Next question: What’s a common wearable people don’t think of as a wearable? (Not meant to be a trick question!)
Boian Mitov says: A "Cleopatra" headpiece with a Cobra that starts to hiss when you get close would also do wonders... :-D
Shannon Hoover says: common wearable - my glasses, my watch, my phone. Old timey version would be armor
Kath Blair says: Hmm ... maybe whatever you wear in your hair maybe?
Shannon Hoover says: like leather battlefield armor = wearable tech IMO
glasses = definitely wearable tech
Boian Mitov says: Like a crown with a Cobra. I think Cleopatra is sometimes depicted waring it
Boian Mitov says: but if you make one that starts to look aggressive if somebody gets too close, I am sure will work quite well :-D
þeshipu says: come to think of it, clothes are wearable tech
Shannon Hoover says: I mean, it depends what you are using as a baseline, but a crown would have definitely applied in its time :)
Boian Mitov says: :-D
þeshipu says: especially specialized such as sport clothes
Shannon Hoover says: yea, lots of garments have awesome tech in them
Shannon Hoover says: I mean, technically once we stopped wearing banana leaves, everything we wear is tech
Boian Mitov says: hey... Banana Leaves were also tech at that time... ;-)
Shannon Hoover says: that said, I like to think of wearable tech as something that 'augments' the human experience
Shannon Hoover says: that's why glasses and watches would qualify by my measure
þeshipu says: like kitchen mittens that let you handle hot stuff
Shannon Hoover says: yep!
Boian Mitov says: Clothes always augment the human experience
Shannon Hoover says: yea, I guess arguably everything is! haha
Boian Mitov says: yes
Boian Mitov says: :-D
Boian Mitov says:
This is the same type of debate as what is a Smart Phone
Boian Mitov says:The definitions morph over time
Shannon Hoover says:exactlyI would say glasses definitely qualify though
Boian Mitov says:In my opinion, anything that you put on your body is wearable
Boian Mitov says:excluding the stuff in the pockets
Boian Mitov says: that constitutes luggage...
Boian Mitov says: so glasses, watches, etc. are all fair game I think
Shannon Hoover says: yea, I would agree
Boian Mitov says: even a strap on medical health monitor should qualify
Shannon Hoover says: yup
Sophi Kravitz says: Next question: what about el-wire sheet? have you used much of that and what do you do about the buzzing noise
Shannon Hoover says: EL is a good wearable tech gateway drug
Shannon Hoover says: we've used the sheets for glowing tattoos, they looked really cool
Shannon Hoover says: but it's very dim and doesn't wear well, so we generally don't use them much
anfractuosity says: i read something about paint on EL stuff i think
Shannon Hoover says: yes, that definitely exists, but most of what you can do with EL you can do with LED's and edge glow stuff
so we often use EL in our workshops, but they don't appear on our runways as muich
Throw a laser on the end of 2mm edge glow fibre optics for a better solution :)
Nemanja Stefanovic says: Have you worked with conductive inks or used a silk-screen process for any of your circuits?
Boian Mitov says: Do you guys also work with some actors for Broadway type of performances?
Shannon Hoover says: Conductive inks are even less reliable than conductive thread
Nemanja Stefanovic says: Really good to know, thanks!
Boian Mitov says: I am just thinking that this can create a new form of art
Shannon Hoover says: conductive inks and thread work pretty well for flex and touch sensors
Boian Mitov says: Actors actually interacting with the audience
Kath Blair says: One of the designers, Angela, is a costume designer and she works on a lot of big shows. Not always interactive, but she does it.
Boian Mitov says: I mean the audience can have influence in one way or another on the behaviour of teh wearable
Shannon Hoover says: Angela Dale, same person Kath is talking about - she has some pretty awesome stuff
Kath Blair says:One of my friends here at the University is working on an interactive, changeable prop for improvisers to use.
Boian Mitov says: Cool ! :-)
Sophi Kravitz says: We have a few minutes (7) left in the chat, so get your last questions in
Stefan-Xp says: can you show of some of your work? :)
Shannon Hoover says: I would say the biggest issue that hasn't been covered is dealing with stress relief and broken solder connections
MAKEFASHION CHELSEA KLUKAS
Launched in June 2012 by a trio of Calgarians, MakeFashion has produced over 100 wearable tech garments and showcased at over 60 international events. We introduce high-end fashion designers and artists to the exciting world of wearables through a series of informative, hands-on, designer-lead workshops.
Shannon Hoover says: lemme pull up a youtube link :)
Boian Mitov says: May have been answered, but what do you consider the biggest challenge in working with fabric based smart wearable?
Shannon Hoover says: This is from our opening show for Xiamen Fashion week in China:
Here is a video from last year's show in Calgary:
anfractuosity says: i'm curious if you could weave with fibre optic, and illuminate the strands, dunno how well that'd work though ;)
Kath Blair says: @Stephen You can water or skin-proof them if you do them yourself, you can make the solder joints good and use silicone wire so they don't break as easily as pre-made strips, you can power them with USB power banks and they're easy to control.
Mary Etta West says: @Shannon Hoover I'd like to see hardware with built strain relief, which usually just means a route out for the wires to feed through. I think solder connections should go away - smarter/smaller, smoother connectors are my preference.
Shannon Hoover says: the biggest problem we've found is that solder connectors break
Shannon Hoover says: it's very simple, but it makes a HUGE difference
Boian Mitov says: yeah... we need stretchable electronics...
Stephen says: Also... what does skin proofing entail?
Kath Blair says: @Stephen yeah - every time I use an LED strip, even if I cut them apart, I regret it becasue the backing of the strip can't handle moving around. Unless I was using carbon fibre like one of the other designers and they didn't have to move at all, I find soldering myself is more reliable and using lights with PCB on them.
StitchKit.io is raising funds for StitchKit - The Fashion Technology Kit for Everyone on Kickstarter! A Fashion Technology Kit Inspired by Designers and Engineers Around the World to Lower The Barriers of Entry for STEAM
Shannon Hoover says: there, the kickstarter page has it
Shannon Hoover says: Also, the kickstarter page has some really good videos - check out the Table6 video, those girls inspire me every day!
Boian Mitov says: What is the latest project you are working on?
Shannon Hoover says: silicon coated stranded wire is best
morgan says: but in my case, it was always at the solder joint
Mary Etta West says: Checked out the Kickstarter. It's much like SparkFun's qwiic system with the strain relief. Silicone is the best!
Kath Blair says: i mentioned it earlier, but I started a project for my Master of Fine Arts that will be to create a wearable to manage my mood for me. Putting that on a bit of a hold to go down another avenue for this semester, but I'm looking forward to doing back to it
Shannon Hoover says: although if you're feeding through a loop, a stiffer wire works well too
Boian Mitov says: Hmm... again thinking loud... what if each LED actually had its own wireless communication, and was powered by magnetic field
Kath Blair says: I also find reinforcing around the solder joint with a stiff backing and glue helps, and sometimes you can find ways to do that while keeping the joints open so you could repair them
Boian Mitov says: and there are no wires running around
Boian Mitov says: and the LED is completely encapsulated
that's an interesting idea
Shannon Hoover says: oh, and on other thing, we have multiple ground and power connectors so you don't have to twist wires together, that adds more failure points
Angela Sheehan says: Yes adding multiple power and ground choices is a huge asset for wearables. Often boards don't have more than one set.
Sophi Kravitz says: Alright, everyone is welcome to stay and chat as long as they want, but this officially ends the Hack Chat