Wendy Ng and Eric Boyd
This finery for ambassadors is designed to deploy additional “soft power” when the pressure of the moment requires it.
The garments are controlled by a custom circuit board installed in the back of the jackets. A user-interface radio board is installed in the gloves under a laser-cut dome. Galvanic Skin Response sensors in the glove trigger the radio board to send a message to the main board, which activates the deployment. During deployment, the LEDs in the sleeve change from white to red. In the male garment Stomatopod, the shoulder LEDs blink outward, while the linear actuators make the laser-cut shoulder pieces extend out about 7cm. In the female, the servo motors lift up the collar about 20cm, while the LEDs change the color of the fiber optics from red to blue. During retraction, the opposite changes occur, to return to the garments to their normal positions and colours.
- Custom circuit boards: motor board (x4) and glove board (x2)
- Strips of WS2812 RGB LEDs in the arms (~300 LEDs total)
- Pleather fabric is laser cut with ‘braid’ pattern
- TLC5940 controlled LEDs in the male shoulder spikes and female collar fiber optics, as well as the fiber optics in the sashes (64 LEDs total)
- Mechanized shoulder elements in the male (to extend the shoulders) use Firgelli linear actuators L12-P-100-50 (2)
- Shoulder elements are laser etched & cut and heat-bent
- Mechanized collar elements in the female use regular hobby servos (2)
- 433 MHz radios (from seeed) allow the gloves to communicate with the suits (4 radios total)
Eric Boyd is the founder of Sensebridge, a wearables and electronic jewelry company. He is currently based in Toronto Canada, where he is President of Hacklab.to, a technology community space and an organizer for the Quantified Self Toronto meetup, and DIYbio.TO. He is also a Founder and Director of Festival Programming at Maker Festival, an annual event celebrating the DIY spirit in Toronto.
“I had a wonderful time engineering these jackets. We proposed a very ambitious project using two technologies I’d not had previous experience with (motorizing garments and radio communication) and I learned a lot making both of those happen! It was also great to hang out at Archeloft for two days finishing the project, we learned a lot there about working with fibre optics!” – Eric
“To be honest, I am a little jealous, in a good way, of the fashion tech scene, i.e. ARCHLoft, in Calgary; so fortunate to have met some most amazing people all over the world, and now determined to build a strong relationship between this and the budding Toronto scene. MakeFashion is a one of the kind passion project where passion, along with innovation, professionalism and dedication, rules. I can totally resonate with this and feel proud.
Collaborating in this rather ambitious project “Soft Power” was challenging – amble communication and patience is the key. Integration of tech and garments has pushed me to learn more about tech design in order to come up with a good garment design that is efficient as well as aesthetically pleasing – I am a total believer of Form and Function.” – Wendy
On The Runway
Soft Power | Designers: Dystropolis by Eric Boyd and Wendy Ng | Models: Matt Blais and Jen Allen | Hair: Natasha with Jason Mellor | Makeup: Jade Brunes | Photography: Ernesto Augustus
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