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MIT Creates A Wearable Social Network

Social Textiles

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is well known for technological breakthroughs and innovations, and yet another has emerged recently. The new project titled ‘Social Textiles’ is the latest joint venture from MIT’s Tangible Media Group and Fluid Interface Group, who are collectively responsible for a huge number of innovative designs and engineered technologies.  

 fastcodesign.com

The social textiles team originally consisted of just a handful of MIT students, namely Viirj Kan, Katsuya Fujii, Judith Amores, and Chang Long Zhu Jin. The team sought to create a way to make social media more tangible, and more integrated into real life encounters.

Viirj Kan made a statement as the official representative of the team:

"If you think about it, our Facebook and Twitter profiles reach and even impact thousands of people every day, but it doesn't feel like it, but while the way we represent ourselves in social media is intangible, what we wear isn't. We wanted to see if we could merge the two to create social catalysts."

The technology is implemented exclusively in t-shirts at present, but in theory it could be used in any type of clothing. The system utilises thermochromatic ink, which is activated by an underlying thin circuit membrane. When you pass within 12 feet of another person with similar interests (providing they are also wearing the tech of course) the shirt sends a small pulse through the collar, informing you of your proximity to a like-minded individual.

fastcodesign.com

Beyond that, if you actually make physical contact with said person then the true beauty of the technology shows itself. When contact is made, whether it’s through a pat on the shoulder, a high-five or a handshake, the membrane activates the ink, causing symbols to appear on the front of the shirt highlighting any shared interests, locations or careers. For example, when two members of the Social Textiles Group demonstrated the tech by high-fiving each other it caused the letters ‘MIT’ to flash across their torso.

There are seemingly no limits on what the shirts could potentially communicate, in fact Kan remarked that the functionality of the tech is limited only by the designer utilising it.

Fashion is already used by many to make statements about their personality, affiliations and interests. This new approach simply takes that basic idea to another awe inspiring level


Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working part time as a content writer, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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MIT Creates A Wearable Social Network Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Rating: 5
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