Oscar Tomico // Close to the body

Tonight our guest lecturer Oscar Tomico, invited as part of the spring Lecture Series 2015, discussed innovation in the form of the combination of soft materials with high technology with us, and which has led to the development of so-called Smart Textiles. These are of strategic importance for the European textile industry to sustain their competitive edge and to counter threats from low-labor cost producers. However, there is little research done on how to design with smart textiles besides the design of the smart textile itself. Fashion design takes a highly conceptual approach paying not enough attention to the dynamic qualities that the smart textiles afford, neither the transformation of the wearer into a user. The software and HCI community take a cognitive approach, using the same paradigm to design software to make what are so called wearables. The result is that the designs made hardly leave the catwalk or the gadget realm. In the Wearable Senses Lab at TU/e Industrial Design we research how to bring technology close to the body in a meaningful way. With a strong emphasis on theory like phenomenology, somaesthetics and new materialism we explore how textiles can be dynamic, behave & change properties based on our way of being & living. We experience interaction as a performance in everyday life. We design people’s intimate relation with technology by using our own bodies to ideate, explore and prototype in context.

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