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MIT Media Lab Fashions 126

robyn217 writes "At MIT's Media Lab, researchers are developing fashion accessories on which patterns and designs can change according to the wearer's whim, and fashion prints can be shared virally via wireless communication. This technology will be a real boon for fickle New York City baseball fans at the Subway Series in the future (they can simply flip a switch to change from a Mets to a Yankees jersey."
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MIT Media Lab Fashions

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  • Mods (Score:2, Funny)

    by foundme ( 897346 )
    How long until someone got a mod to have naked fashion?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That'd likely be grounds for prosecution in certain countries, namely the United States. It's a well known fact that boobies are a prime cause of terrorism. You don't support terrorism, do you?

      • Fashion leads to terrorism AND pedofilia, you don't support those right? Of course not, please put on your blue overalls and let the Ministry of Truth search your Fed-Ex packages for Pedo-Terror DVDs.
      • Yeah really, with that attitude the Founder of the MIT Media Lab might have to call his boys at Battalion 3-16, beat you, torture you, sodomize you, then chuck you out of an helicopter over the ocean.

        Oops my bad, that was his brother, John Negroponte. My bad...
      • Boobies are a prime cause of terrorism. Tyrannical Islamic restrictions on sexuality with the promise of scores of virgin wives when entering heaven causes all the bunged up fanatics to blow themselves up so they can finally get laid.
    • In other news, the ESRB announced today that it had changed its rating for MIT from 'N' for 'Nerds' to 'MN' for 'Mature Nerds.'
    • Much like Hot Coffee and the Oblivion Skins the "Naked Fashion" is already implemented underneath. Commenting out the "fabric" will result in an change in rating.
  • Bad idea? (Score:3, Funny)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:11PM (#15305940) Journal
    fashion prints can be shared virally via wireless communication.
    Shared virally?

    Imagine a viral goatse fashion hack


  • How long till... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by linzeal ( 197905 )
    A virus makes people appear naked? Nude patch for reality?
  • Give me a break... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MustardMan ( 52102 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:14PM (#15305947)
    It's a freaking PDA screen showing through a hole cut in the bag. The Media lab keeps getting lamer and lamer.
    • sigh... you obviously know nothing about fashion.

      he then proceeds to cry himself to sleep.
    • I was wondering more about the power supply...

      despite the cheesiness of the image and story. Viral clothing? lol

      People just briefly flashing a viral goatse image across their chest nailing all the people with the incorrect permissions.

      This sounds stupid, cause no one will want to walk around with a giant battery strapped to themself. We need to have the pattern stay without a power source and just attempt to avoid issues like this. How do they attempt to conceal the circuitry?

      I'm curious as to what chemi
    • I agree (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This kind of technology would be better suited for something like a wireless OLED signpost that could warn a motorist of any car accidents ahead or black ice on the road etc....

      Much more useful than using it for some no good punk teen with too much money..

    • by jbloggs ( 535329 )
      You're missing the entire point. Its about what is shown and how its shown--namely that images appear that signal your social status--how clse you are to the source of that particular image. For example, if you goto an underground rave/concert, they can hand out 100 limited copies of the image wirelessly. These can then be passed on within the communicative framework virally, but each time degrade purposely in quality, thus signalling how far you are from the source. This is coupled with tracing functio
      • I think the underlying problem is how everyone wants to be unique "just like everyone else". It used to be that if you wanted fly clothing, you'd sit at a sewing machine and get creative. Nowadays people just want to buy creativity. Look at all the crappy tuner cars on the road with their me-too sticker gallery. You go to a car show and you see 100 of those idiot white nigger kids, and a handful of truly artistic vehicles with airbrushing and pinstriping, chromed manifolds etc. Then you get the fashion
  • by ktakki ( 64573 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:15PM (#15305951) Homepage Journal
    Journal Entry - 8 August 2017

    Got to work at 8:30. Pradesh, my cubicle-mate arrives ten minutes later, muttering Hindi obscenities. He's wearing plaid pants in a pattern so garish that it would make a Scotsman commit suicide.

    "Yo, Prad. What's up with the slacks? You rent Braveheart IV last night?"

    "Good gracious, no," he repies. "Someone hacked my pants on the No. 6 train."

    We spent most of the morning doing a system restore on his trousers. Got them rolled back to pinstripes just before lunch.

    • picture a schlong, outline on bluejeans, emerging from the 'zipper'
      and that reaches to the kneecaps,
        and swings from left to right as the individual walks....
    • Except for the cube geek characters, this could easily be a snippet of dialogue from the excellent Science Fiction/Fantasy book Only Forward [] by Michael Marshall Smith (better known for writing horror). At one point the main character compliments a nearby building's AI for altering its lighting and color patterns to complement the unique pattern his malfunctioning smart-fabric pants had settled on that morning.

      A fun and utterly unique book. I have a review of it on my booklog [].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...this'll make it a lot easier for people to sell themselves as add space.
  • Shame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:17PM (#15305955)
    I thought MIT was a leading technology school. How come we keep seeing this lame crap coming from them? OMG, I twisted some cat5e into a pony and had a fashion show. Or, I cut a hole in a bag so my PDA would show through. Aren't these best and brightest supposed to be working on cool things like figuring out how to mass manufacture a fabric with OLEDs? Stop posting this crap.

    Going AC here since I know folks with MIT degrees.
    • Re:Shame (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AEton ( 654737 )
      That's the Media Lab. Their job is to make flashy things and get funny press coverage (and One Laptop Per Child: that's right, kid with two laptops, I'm talking to you -- get back here and give me that!)

      Outside of E15, there's quite a lot of "real" (conventional, Nature-worthy) research.
    • Re:Shame (Score:2, Interesting)

      It's called relevance. Specifically, unless you're doing stuff that people care about, you won't be relevant for long. From this perspective, MIT's Media Lab is thus ensuring its continuing relevance.

      By the way, evolutionary biologists understand that fashion, like geekery, has a direct and clear purpose (in the context of natural selection). Perhaps it's something you should look into before condescending to your evolutionarily more successful peers.
    • Re:Shame (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Should serious research into the intersection of art and technology be conducted at universities (where perhaps the most significant innovations in IT has occurred in the past), or should it be left to marketers at Apple and the video game vendors?
    • Re:Shame (Score:3, Interesting)

      new slogan - Hypercolor for '06
    • Really. Like what happened to the Media Lab's Government Information Awareness project? Does anyone but me remember that? It opened to a little bit of fanfare when the US government was busy trying to put together Total Information Awareness. One year later--or less--it quietly shut down. I sent a couple of letters to the grad student and the professor behind it but no answers.
    • I, on the other hand believe they are on the right track. You have to realize the group of ppl who are responsible for this project even admitted themselves as said in the article the prototype was somewhat "simplistic". This for them is a proof of concept to perhaps do a bit of research see if ppl would adopt such a technology. Once they've got their things going and perhaps some ppl convinced about their idea ready to invest they could buy some of these babies []. Erik
  • by ghoul ( 157158 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:22PM (#15305971)
    According to the laws of war if you are fighting out of uniform and you are captured you are considered a spy and not a soldier and do not get pow status. They have status very similar to unlawfull combatants. This is a reason lot of commando raids are done by people wearing uniform even though the raid would be easier to do if you could just be dressed as the enemy. So my question is why not use this kind of material to create a uniform which matches the enemy's uniform and if you think you are about to get captured flick a switch and switch to full uniform. Voila you are no longer an unlawful combatant and rather a POW
  • More fun.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by labratuk ( 204918 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:22PM (#15305973)
    This technology will be a real boon for fickle New York City baseball fans at the Subway Series in the future (they can simply flip a switch to change from a Mets to a Yankees jersey.

    Does this hint at the possibility of 24bit truecolour mexican waves?
  • This technology will be a real boon for fickle New York City baseball fans at the Subway Series in the future (they can simply flip a switch to change from a Mets to a Yankees jersey.

    Okay... PLEASE. As IF there are New Yorkers that root for BOTH teams at once.
    • No, but that's a good way to put a hit on a guy. Sittin' in the middle of Mets territory, then flip his shirt to a Yankees jersey, watch him get beat to death, then collect the money.

    • Okay... PLEASE. As IF there are New Yorkers that root for BOTH teams at once.

      I know you are trying to be funny, but there are a few serious NY baseball fans who pray for a subway series every year that it goes to 7 games and the last game goes into overtime.

      Frankly, I think these fans are a little unusual, but I used to work with one a while ago. They exist, trust me.
    • Based on how Americans support sports teams, I'd imagine they'd flip the switch depending on who was winning at the time.
      • Based on how Americans support sports teams, I'd imagine they'd flip the switch depending on who was winning at the time.

        Who said anything about America? He was talking about New York.
        • Re:What?? (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by drsquare ( 530038 )
          I was under the impression that New York was in America.
          • A common misconception. New York is populated entirely by unsavory immigrants, liberal politicians, and "mainstream media". By the standard (Fox News) definition, none of these counts as "American".
  • For those wandering internationally, here are the following viral fashions currently in vogue:
    • England: Not sure, but it was either designed by HRH The Prince of Wales or won an award from him for innovation
    • The Channel Islands: A "Stone De Croze" outfit (it's important to be original)
    • Australia: A cross between "Crocodile Dundee" and Rolf Harris
    • Germany: Doesn't matter - the Chaos Computer Club will upload Blinkenlights and use the entire street for a gigantic game of Pacman
    • Denmark: Is there such a thing as a
    • Stone De Croze?
      Wow, what a blast from the past.
      Are you just someone who knows of Stone De Croze, or are you a genuine (tm) Channel Islander?
      • by jd ( 1658 )
        My uncle is a Guernseyman, my father & grandfather taught at Elizabeth College, and I have visited there (and Herm) many times. So although not a native of Guernsey, I feel I know it as well as any non-native could.

        A word of warning - if you have a metal detector, be very careful near the beaches. Back in the late 70s, I found an unexploded German bomb about three inches below the surface of an unsurfaced beach car park. (I reported it to the police - after carrying it to the house I was staying in, as

  • Real fashion statements are made in fabric cut and silhouette. Women's fashion is dependent on a constantly changing outline. Men's fashion might benefit, but even in a man's suit there is some variation between designers and from season to season. Changing the color and pattern is kind of useless when you've been wearing the same shirt for a week. If it get's cold, your windbreaker can't color change into a parka and scarf. I figure this has limited use in fashion design, but plenty of use as adaptive c
  • One more yawn..? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lawaetf1 ( 613291 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @12:04AM (#15306116)
    Urbanhermes defines a communicative fashion framework that would ultimately consist

    I have this idea of a robotic housemaid that can also tune my car and cure cancer. Can I get a post on slashdot?

    It's pathetic how anything that MIT can conjecture automatically makes it news.

    A teddy bear that's also a 100mbit switch? OMFG what innovation!

    I know some of the older school media lab guys and even they are getting tired of the "news" they see in Tech Briefs etc.
    Please, give it a rest and treat the rest of us like we're not damned fanboys of anything MIT does. It's a good school that does some great science but it's not some flaming oracle.
  • You could not have picked a worse analogy than the 2 baseball teams in NYC. While there are a number of frontrunner bandwagon fans there, they are few and far between as compared to a place like Dallas or Los Angeles. No self respecting Met OR Yankee fan would be caught DEAD wearing the other team's jersey. It appears as though your lack of fashion sense is only exceeded by your complete inability to gague quality-of-life issues re. sports in the Big Apple.
    • I also found the NY Baseball reference a bit, um, culturally uninformed. Virtually every Met and Yankees fan I know would rather sell their family than wear a jersey from the "other team".
  • How lame is this? They're prototype is a zaurus in a plastic see-through pocket from the outside.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    An I'm with stupid T-shirt that always points to the specific stupid you mean.
  • by Who235 ( 959706 ) <`secretagentx9' `at' `'> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @12:39AM (#15306222)
    What an exciting and entirely appropriate use of technology.

    Frankly I was wondering why this hadn't been done yet.

    This kind of radical thinking is sure to keep MIT right at the top for years to come.

    Boy am I glad we crawled out of the ocean, fought off fucking cave bears and developed huge brains because this is truly the culmination of all our hopes as a species.

    Look on and be humbled by our own magnificence, people - this is our finest hour:

    We can wirelessly change clothes!!!
  • by Jim3535 ( 903233 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @12:45AM (#15306234)
    fashion prints can be shared virally via wireless communication.

    How long before a "kick me" virus gets loose?
  • by Laxitive ( 10360 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @12:55AM (#15306257) Journal
    No, you will NOT be able to switch from a Yankees Jersey to a Mets Jersey in the flip of a switch. That would violate intellectual property rules.

    But you'll be able to do things ALMOST as cool. For a low payment of $2.50 per use, your fabric will connect to a AT&T mobile fabric pattern access point, from which you will be able to download AWESOME patterns which include all your favourite TV stars, American Idols, and Pop Starlets. "Locked" fabric will be rented to you at discounted prices in exchange for 2 year contracts costing roughly $200. Fabrics will be locked to only allow patterns from the manufacturer you bought it from. You will not be able to upload patterns from your computer to your fabric. You will not be able to share patterns with your neighbor.

    Enjoy your high-tech clothing of the future.

    • If you can download patterns of different American Idols, why wouldn't you be able to download patterns of different Major League Baseball teams? Yes, you will have to own a liscence to the intellectual property of each team you download, but all Major League Baseball team liscenced merchandise falls under that umbrella branch and are divided equally among the franchises despite the disproportionate amount of merchandise the is Yankees related. From this article []:

      ...the Yankees account for 27% of all leagu

    • While I unfortunately think what you say is likely....all it takes is indie fashion designers to get ahold of this technology. I there any law thata says you cannot modify your clothing in any way you want? Is there any law saying you cannot use copyrighted material on clothing? I mean, its for personal use...and its an image....if you're nto selling it how would it be illegal?

  • by six11 ( 579 ) <johnsogg&cmu,edu> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @12:58AM (#15306263) Homepage

    I should probably submit a shameless plug for some of the related work that our collaborators in Colorado are working on:

    An LED tank top playing Conway's Game of Life [] and an extensive guide on do-it-yourself sewing circuits []. Very nerdy, and very cool. The idea here is that you can have computationally enhanced stuff available for people doing craftwork. They have a lot more awesome stuff, but you'll have to click around for it.

  • I don't think so. Ever see some of the syntax highlighting schemes some Vim users have come up with?

  • Ugh... (Score:2, Funny)

    by MagicDude ( 727944 )
    This technology will be a real boon for fickle New York City baseball fans at the Subway Series in the future (they can simply flip a switch to change from a Mets to a Yankees jersey.

    Anyone who needs a jersey to switch from Yankees to the Mets doesn't deserve either.
  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:14AM (#15306298) Journal
    but the inventors are not thinking this through... Have you seen what some people wear with 'regular' materials? Anyone ever want to kill the person that thought "hmmm, spandex will look good in XXXXlarge canary yellow" ???

    Have any of you seen what gets worn at high schools? (no, I'm not a pervert) but there are groups of people that would take self expression to an entirely unexpected new level if they could change it before getting caught...

    Have you ever seen the gay pride parades? Mardi Gras? Imagine that in the mall or your local TGIF's on occassion. If clothes could make it look like the wearer was naked, but not be, more people than you think, and certainly people you wouldn't want to, will think its fun to do so.

    Not that I think such innovations should be held back, but there are some serious consequences to our laws and society with the introduction of such things... and trust me, the judiciary is NOT ready to deal with it, whether it is innovation or change, they are not prepared to deal equitably with either.

    Just what do law makers do with someone that creates a virus that makes little girls clothes go transparent? There are some serious things to think about with technology, and UNFORTUNATELY, our law makers have NO CLUE what to do with it other than react like they were born with the patriot act in their mouths (or pick your preferred orrifice).

    Yes, I'm paranoid... at least when it comes to anything that requires law makers and politicians to have common sense and good humor.

    • Just what do law makers do with someone that creates a virus that makes little girls clothes go transparent?

      Well, with a little bit of luck they'll realize how stupid the laws are, but that doesn't seem likely, does it?

      In the meantime, Mr. Smartypants, try setting your desktop background color to "transparent" and make your monitor disappear.

    • Just what do law makers do with someone that creates a virus that makes little girls clothes go transparent?
      I'm paranoid... at least when it comes to anything that requires law makers and politicians to have common sense and good humor
      You do not play sexual jokes on kids. You do not probe mil net without paying a price. To anyone but a Geek, this is not rocket science.
    • "and UNFORTUNATELY, our law makers have NO CLUE what to do with it other than react like they were born with the patriot act in their mouths (or pick your preferred orrifice)."

      I guess I'd rather they REACT like that than be that way in the first place and quashing whatever hope of a technological future we might have. Least that way the cats already out of the bag.

  • This sort of reminds me of the special fabric Ozymandias developed in Alan Moore's "Watchmen" (which was used by Rorschach for his mask).... although in that case, I think the fabric just randomly changed patterns, it didn't provide a way to control what patterns were being shown at any one time. It does seem like the Rorschach-style mask would be pretty simple to do with this though, all you'd have to do presumably is set it up to randomly change patterns.
  • oh great: (Score:1, Funny)

    by atarione ( 601740 )
    ~~~ For instance, a T-shirt could be solid blue one day and striped the next, she said. ~~~

    all i need is the smelly nerds at work wearing the same tshirt (albiet with different colors/patterns) all week...
    • When I find a fashion design I really like, I purchase multiple copies of that design. This allows me to wear a fresh copy of something I like every day, while conveniently facilitating laundry sorting on the weekends. There are several identical shirts and pairs of pants to wash over the weekend. If one is stained or damaged, I can substitute another identical copy.

      People think I rewear the same clothes too much, but I revel in private satisfaction as I don a completely clean outfit every day.


  • by quokkapox ( 847798 ) <> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @02:55AM (#15306544)
    This is a lame article but the evolution of this type of technology could really help us move away from the silly behaviour people exhibit such as wearing clothing that prominently features corporate logos whose corporate advertising campaigns have managed to associate with certain "popular" attitudes.

    What does it say about you when you wear a t-shirt with a Nike swoosh on it?

    I'd rather see people walking around, freely exchanging memes on their shirts instead, something more complex than a band name or an athletic wear logo. Ideas, slogans more profound than "just do it". That would be a nifty way to exploit new technology to facilitate human communication in ways that haven't been as widely experimented with until now.

    • Yeah.

      Or they could have five different innane marketing slogans and five different stupid band names on a constantly blinking nightmare shirt that would give us all epileptic seizures.

      I like your optimism man, I just don't share it.
    • What does it say about you when you wear a t-shirt with a Nike swoosh on it?

      It says "I'm a fucking moron who pays to work for someone else. Please take my money."

      It's really a very concise way to communicate.


  • by tfg004 ( 974156 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @04:47AM (#15306761)
    > researchers are developing fashion accessories on which patterns and designs can change according to the wearer's whim

    It has already been developed, by Philips Research [] in the Netherlands, with the possibility to modify the patterns on your textiles e.g. by bluetooth or GSM.
    • What you are pointing to do has nothing to do with the goals of the system. There are many different technologies out there in computational fabrics--this system is more focused on the underlying social signaling issues and viral communication, which is why its just a 'pda in a bag'.
  • it was in a dream a few months back. though it was a sofa that could be changed, it had a 1" square grid that could be changed. still upon waking i wrote it down.
  • MIT = (Score:2, Funny)

    by jamesl ( 106902 )
    MIT = More Irrelevant Technology.
  • "The binocular guy nods, reachs up with one hand and presses a lapel switch. The next time he turns around, a word is written across his back in neon green electropigment: MAFIA

    The older guy turns away; his windbreaker says the same thing.

    Hiro turns around in the middle of the gangplank. There are twenty crew members in plain sight all around him. Suddenly their black windbreakers all say, MAFIA. Suddenly, they are all armed."

  • Excellent, I'll be able to read hot chicks blogs off their chests without looking like I'm staring at their boobs.

    (How appropriate, the image word so that I can post this is "sexist". Thus proving /. is psychic.)
  • The logo should switch automatically depending on which
    side of the Chicago. Can you see the the scene, riding the
    El and all the jerseys switch from Cubs to Sox?
  • Check out the posters sig and the authors first name? Correlation? Nawww...
  • I can see it now -- Apple licenses the patent (if there is one), and opens an iClothes store where you can download the latest fashion for $.99.
  • You know, as someone who knows the media lab relatively well and has worked there for quite some time,, I have to say that when most "hardcore" geeks come into the place, they just don't get it.

    The Media Lab was never really about "whoa, let's make this hot new cutting edge technology that will knock the socks off of everyone for the sake of making cutting edge technology." I have found that more often than not, while a good bit of the technology that the media lab uses can be bought online, what really m
    • Well, design of computers and algorithms is a fairly recent development in our evolution, but I would say that algorithmic clothes is nothing fundamentally new. We were doing it all the time already: adapting our clothes to our environment (winter/summer, inside/outside, formal/informal). So, what would be the added value of changing patterns in clothes ? Hm... I only can imagine to answer this question in maybe 100 or 200 years, when we know what our brains do with patterns. Maybe algorithmic clothes can
    • I tend to think the problem is that to make something really new and interesting, it is generally technically very difficult. If it wasn't, it would have already been done. Google's stuff is cool and interesting because they are tremendously smart and have excellent engineers. You won't get significant results out of "messing up" or goofing off or whatever you want to call it. You'll get something that might be a passable if somewhat mediocre modern art exhibit. But apparently you can also get pretty good p
  • Nope, it's not. For a moment there, I thought that well-dressed MIT geek had selected a virtual slide rule--a Pickett and Eckel Eye-Ease Yellow Ten-Inch Log-Log Duplex Decitrig Slide Rule--to be virtually dangling from his belt.

    And I was wondering what other dangly things were available as display choices.

    That yellow strap is way more eyecatching than whatever it is we're supposed to be looking at.
  • Switching jerseys at an NYC Subway Series would instantly trigger the "human sacrifice" portion of the show.

    There's a reason "New Jersey" doesn't have an MLB team.
  • For instance, a T-shirt could be solid blue one day and striped the next, she said.

    Then dingy, then splotchy, then stiff, then . . . then self-aware.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972