Thesis Statement

Why should you care about the wearable computer? ¦ [S]oon our lives will be dramatically changed by the wearable computer. But the world will look pretty much the same and most of us won’t even notice.” Steve Mann, Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer

I propose to create a wearable mobile outfit that encourages direct public social interaction using mobile/wireless technologies that have been used mostly to create personal barriers in everyday society. These technologies primarily consist of cell phones and personal music players, so it is my plan to integrate these technologies on to my person and in essence ‘become the medium’ I am interested to see if people are willing to have the same interactions with me as they are with their personal devices in public. I realize that wearable technology is on the cusp of becoming widely used as a way to integrate consumer products; so I must find a unique application that is both artistically and technically interesting. In this respect I hope to further the exploration of New Media as both a physical and a social manifestation.

Historical Relevance

For this project I have looked at the technical and social developments of Cyborgs and at the innovations of Steve Mann in particular. Whereas Mann is concerned with surveillance and corporate/government controls, I am more interested in focusing on the social implications of wearable technology and the novelty of its emergence into mainstream society. This includes the aesthetic presentation of the wearable devices and the integration with fashion textiles.

Clothing has been one of the most important signifier in human culture and enables us to put on display our personality. There have been strident developments in interactive textiles and wearable computing within the past years. Unfortunately these developments have largely been relegated to laboratories, art galleries and very specialized public offerings.

Having taken input from the writings of Georg Simmel, I realize that this project will challenge not only technological boundaries but social boundaries as well. That the general public will have limited interest in interacting with me, so I must determine whom my most receptive audience may be and the most conductive times and locations to interact with these audiences.

Technical Concerns

I have consulted with Steve Daniels about how I would be able to construct the major technical components of the project. The plan is to take apart a bluetooth headset and extract the elements of the headset (audio input and output) to more powerful input/output on the outfit. This should be just a matter of wiring and power support. The bluetooth component will maintain contact with the cellphone component, which should function as normal.

Thankfully the good people at Sony-Ericsson Canada have donated to me 2 phones that I may freely experiment with that meet the requirements of my project.

I am working with professional illustrator Kent Burles to develop concept sketches of my project based on my influences, technical requirements and other inputs. We hope to refine the sketches to a single viable model in which the project can be designed from.

I have also been in contact with Raymond Lo and James Fung from the Glogger project and they are willing to assist with getting Glogger installed n the cellphone and provide me with some engineering and mobile phone technical support.

I still have yet to find a fashion artist, sewer or textile artist to work on the project. I am confident that I will be able to find a participant, since this is such a unique project I find many potential participants are unsure or unable to commit to the project.

Installation Specifications

Since my project is unique as it is both wireless and mobile I shall only require a small space to display some project documentation and have a Home Station where I might be able to rest or be met by individuals who are interested in my project.

This could be composed of as little as a table, chair and computer. For the most part I intend to interact and be mobile throughout the Public Presentation.


Cool Neon ………………………….. $50

Cell Phone Plan ………………….. $150

Bluetooth Headsets ……………. $150

Leather Jacket ……………………. $75

Sewing & Aesthetics …………… $500

Technical Components ………. $75

Total ……………………………… $1000