fangmcgee writes: You thought the smartphone wars were bad? Just wait till the battle heats up over the smartwatch. As Samsung goes public with its plans for a wristwatch-style computer, and rumors of an Apple “iWatch” hits fever pitch, the giants of the tech world have just begun to fight. Not that companies aren’t already competing for real estate on your arm, of course. Sony released an Android-powered model last April. The Pebble watch, which raised a record-smashing $10 million on Kickstarter, began shipping in January. And let’s not even mention the plethora of fitness bracelets—Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Nike Fuelband—that are vying for a slice of an increasingly saturated market.
fangmcgee writes: Forget Google Glass; the tech giant is in the footwear business now. Or at least it was at the SXSW series of film, interactive, and music festivals in Austin on Monday. Together with Adidas, the technology giant unveiled its concept “Talking Shoe,” a smart sneaker designed to get people off the couch and exercising. But Google didn’t just see fit to give the shoe the usual moving parts (an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a pressure sensor, Bluetooth connectivity). The sneaker also boasts a personality, one that is alternatively cheering and jeering depending on your level of activity.
fangmcgee writes: In 2050, procuring a new wardrobe will be as easy as hitting a button on a Xerox machine. At least, that’s what industrial designer Joshua Harris proposes with his three-dimensional garment printer, a concept device that would harness technologies such as rapid prototyping to bring clothing production to living rooms everywhere. Urbanization, he says, is rapidly changing the way we obtain the things we need to live. One major opportunity for change? The clothing industry.
fangmcgee writes: Dita Von Teese did more than show off her curves at Manhattan’s Ace Hotel Monday night. The burlesque star and fashion icon also modeled what designers Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti are billing the world’s first fully articulated 3D-printed gown. Created in conjunction with apid-prototyping marketplace Shapeways, the Fibbonaci-inspired mesh number consists of thousands of laser-sintered nylon components, dyed black, lacquered, and embellished with more than 13,000 Swarovski crystals to achieve its “sensual flowing form.”
fangmcgee writes: Never let it be said that Barbie doesn’t have an eye for emerging trends. After forays into everything from aeronautics to zookeeping, America’s favorite plastic dilettante is poised to tackle the Next Big Thing: smart clothing. Unveiled at the 2013 Toy Fair in New York City, the upcoming “Digital Dress” doll features an interactive touchscreen frock that lets just about anyone “draw” their own animated designs, no programming experience necessary.
fangmcgee writes: Nike made history on Sunday when it debuted the first-ever football cleat built using rapid-prototyping technology. Weighing no more than 5.6 ounces, the “Vapor Laser Talon” boasts a contoured three-dimensionally printed plate designed to provide optimal traction, as well as help football athletes maintain their “drive stance” longer and more effectively, according to the sportswear giant.
fangmcgee writes: What would you do if you had Google Glass? Impress the technology giant with your answer and you could be among the first to pre-order the device for $1,500. Google announced its “Glass Explorer” program on Wednesday alongside additional photos and videos that provide a truer-to-life look at the headset’s user interface. Applicants should use Google+ or Twitter to submit a description of how they’d use Glass in 50 words of less, together with the #ifihadglass hashtag. (Submissions can also include up to five photos and a 15-second video.) The fine print? You must be 18 years or older, a resident of the United States and, should you be shortlisted, be able to attend a “special pick-up experience” in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.
fangmcgee writes: Anyone can sway to the rhythm of a catchy tune. But what if you could translate your body movements into actual music? That’s the idea behind Machina’s “MJ v1.0,” the world’s first jacket to combine a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) controller with flexible motion sensors to operate multiple digital music instruments, computers, and other devices simultaneously. It’s even designed to be hackable. The Mexico-based technology firm is working on a “hackstore” that will allow users to upload their own presets. Ultimately, you’ll be able to make the jacket do whatever you want: engineer beats, mix video, even play games. Forget learning the guitar—this is the future of making music.
fangmcgee writes: Sean Miles is giving the term “walkie talkies” a brand new meaning. The U.K. artist has created a series of “handsets” by embedding cellphones into the soles of various vintage shoes, including a Christian Louboutin heel, a Nike Air trainer, a classic men’s brogue, and a Hunter Wellington boot. No new cellphones were harmed in the making of the wacky devices: Miles worked with O2, a mobile telecommunications provider that also pays people to recycle unwanted gadgets, to transform outdated Nokia and LG models into fully functional—and wearable—works of art.
fangmcgee writes: At Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week on Monday, Dutch designer Iris van Herpen debuted what she dubbed as the "first 3D-printed flexible dresses": a dramatic skirt and cape created in collaboration with MIT Media Lab's Neri Oxman and Stratsys, and an intricate dress developed in conjunction with Austrian architect Julia Koerner and Materialise using laser-sintering.
fangmcgee writes: A Canadian camouflage-design company claims to be developing a real-life invisibility cloak that causes its wearer to vanish in plain sight. Likening its “Quantum Stealth” technology to Harry Potter’s magical coverup, the British Columbia-based Hyperstealth Biotechnology says the material tricks the human eye by bending light around a person or object. Although the firm has provided only “mockups” in lieu of proof of concept—CEO Guy Cramer says he cannot show the actual technology for security reasons—the company insists it has the backing of both the U.S. Pentagon and the Canadian military.
fangmcgee writes: If you’ve ever suspected store mannequins of knowing more than they let on, it might not be just your imagination. An Italian company known as Almax has developed a $5,000 bionic mannequin that employs the same type of facial-recognition software used to identify criminals in a crowd. Equipped with cameras in their eye sockets, the “EyeSee” dummies are designed to profile shoppers by age, gender, and race in much the same way online merchants do. The data, according to Almax, can help stores tailor their offerings, window displays, and even store layouts to appeal to their customer base and help boost sales. Our take? It’s more than a little creepy to have robots watch—not to mention record—your every move.
fangmcgee writes: Clothes that "talk" to Facebook aren't just fun and games. They could also provide first responders with critical, real-time information in times of emergency. With this in mind, a group of students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology developed a jacket that uses a Bluetooth-enabled cellphone to communicate with the Internet, particularly social networks that can help large groups coordinate their efforts. Designed to be worn by firefighters and rescue workers, who typically don't have time to fuss with additional gear, the jacket features a built-in screen on its sleeve and a vibrating collar that alerts the wearer of incoming messages.