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ISWC 2012

I attended the ISWC 2012 Doctoral Consortium yesterday where I met a diverse group of PhD researchers investigating a wide range of subjects within the wearable technology sector.  The research ranged from weaving fabrics with conductive yarns with embedded electronic components, to measuring errors in sensors embedded on garments.  My presentation “The Embodied Feminine and the Sensory Self”  discussed integrating body issue theories such as Social Comparison Theory, Self Schema Theory and Body Image Schemata into interactive installations went well. It can be seen here  I was the only PhD participant undertaking a full creative practice PhD and many of the other studies were predominately technical or scientific. I had anticipated at least several other similar creative practice PhD studies which led me to question why there were so few design led and examples of wearables in clothing. My interpretation of wearable, which is undeniably informed by my fashion design background is that technology is embedded within clothing  and that technology is worn on the body. I found myself asking the same question several times throughout the conference as many papers and presentations focused on the smart phone as a wearable. Whilst I appreciate the value of the extensive data which can be extracted and used in some way from smart phones, to me the phone is an accessory or gadget… as to date it is not worn on the body unless you use the bluetooth earpiece, which is rarely the case with users.

I had the opportunity to display a poster at the main event so that was good exposure for my work here it is:

 

The demo and design exhibition was interesting and I will be submitting my design work to the next ISWC 2013.

Here are some pictures of other designers at the design exhibition: Flutter by Halley P. Profita, Nicholas Farrow, Nikolaus Correll. Solar Family by Silvia Guttmann, Sara Lopez, Dziyana Zhyhar.  Context aware signal glove for bicycle and motorcycle riders by Tony Carton. Twinkle Tartiflette and Don’t Break My Heart by Rain Ashford.

So in conclusion, my experience of attending and participating in the conference highlighted that I would like to see more design presentations/papers which focus on integrating technology into wearables as clothing in a social and cultural context. In the panel presentation Lucy Dunne also highlighted clothing as a main area of development of wearable technology, and referred to body image schemata and social issues relating to fashion and clothing which my study directly relates to, so I am  pleased that the next ISWC 2013 now includes in the category Applications of Wearables, music with wearable technology in a social and artistic context.

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