Hi. I’m a Research Managerat Microsoft Research. And it’s my pleasure to welcome today. Combining a traditional science-based thesis withan entrepreneurial thesis. http://fashion
And he’s done a lot of work onwearables and fashion tech. He’s also a fashion designer andtechnologist with several years of experience in designing andcreating wearables. And he’s currently TechnicalDirector for MakeFashion, which is a Calgary-based fashiontechnology company that hosts runways around the world. So we’re really pleasedto have Teddy here. He’s gonna talk about how tobring tech and fashion together. https://worldgraphics20.com/2020/09/25/10-graphic-fashion-art-design-articals/
And we’re hoping he’s going tobe here for three days actually, through Thursday visitingwith the MakeCode team. And we’re gonna be talking abouthow we can bring MakeCode and MakeFashion together. Teddy, thanks. >> Thanks for the introduction. So obviously, I’m Teddy. I’m gonna talk a little bitabout basically what I call, Hacking The Runway.
So using fashion and techtogether basically to create pieces and meaningfulexperiences with fashion tech. This is kind of the first titleimage that I like to show off quite often, and it’s basicallythe first indigenous piece that we had this last year. So it was the first timea designer who had never worked with tech in terms of herculture, this is kind of the piece and I’ll explain alittle bit more about it later.
I kinda wanted to start a littlebit about where my thesis started and then where it’skind of going right now. So that’s why I kind of havethe star cuz it’s kind of a little crazy. A lot of my earlier work was looking atmultidisplay environments. So that’s when you have a bunchof different displays in a room. How you’re sendinginformation across, in betweenthe different displays. I’d done a bunch ofwork in toolkits.
So a lot of thisstuff was my masters. This was kind of my earlyPhD looking at toolkits, how to make APIs, how to makethem scalable, things like that. So I call that pre-runway. Then I moved intomore hardware and wearables cuz I got boredwith purely software. [LAUGH] So I started actuallybuilding watches and phones and things like that and I’ll youa slide about that after. But I started focusing moreon shared experiences.
So what I mean by that is, the ability to give somethingaway or making a more meaningful interaction witha specific piece of hardware, whether it’s a wearable ora phone or clothing. Then kinda had some stuff happenaround here that kinda made me pivot a little bitmore to the left and actually focus on fashion tech. So I started doing a lotmore design, more sewing.
So if you think about myselfgoing from undergrad computer science, basically just UX and programing all the wayto now sewing, it’s kind of a weird experience,but it’s been interesting. So that’s kind of a high leveloverview of what I have done and kind of where I’m going. So quick little exampleof stuff that I had done. It plays, hopefully.
All right, sothis is some of my earlier work. Masters up to basically earlyPhD where I was looking at taking the Kinect, putting themaround the room, combining information from a device that’sjust an iPad or a phone, taking that gyroscopic information,fusing it with the Kinect.
So then you knowwhere you are and where you’re facing in a room,and then you’ll be able to lookat a specific display, flick information acrossdisplays, between displays, things like that. So it’s really,really early stuff, you can tell it’sbasically the first Kinect.
So I’m taking orientation andthings like that. So that’s kind of my earlierwork where I’m looking at how to build an interactive room. So as I mentioned,I started it with the room and then I eventually shrunkdown to the body. So there’s me, young Teddy,a long time ago. So that little arrow basically isthe information from the iPad, and once you connect then itactually knows where you are. So this is really, really,really early work.
I think 2011, 2012 when theKinect was basically brand new. When Angry Birdwas still a thing. Angry Bird was a thing. Yep, as you can tell. Yeah, so that was my firstinstruction to comps. It was just near anddear to my heart. So that was early masters,undergrad, and a bit of the start of the PhD. This is my more recent work. So this was for Kai, last year.
I basically built a dualscreen smart watch. So I took apart a bunchof Android things or Android screens,put in some sensors and then basically created a newtype of watch with two screens. This was the introductionto what I called the shared experience where you’re actuallytaking a piece of a device and giving it to someone. So that’s why I call it shared.
And I did a bunch ofinteraction design things. So I looked at what it meantto take a screen off and putting it on the leftversus the right. So, for example,if you put it on the left, it’s because it’s more stable,it’s probably easier to type. If it’s on the right, it’s goingto be easier to do more tangible interactions becauseyour wrist moves.
So basically made an entireoperating system on top of Android Wear to lookat that kind of thing. And more recently, so I’m presenting this next week,again, kind of the modular aspect andagain kind of shared experience. So basically, I built a phonethat you can take apart and lend a piece to someone. I’m going to play a quicklittle clip for that. So the idea is you lendyour phone, typically, to everyone, everyday.
But sometimes it’s very awkward. You don’t wanna sharethe photos on your phone, or maybe it’s a kid. So the idea is you have a smartphone that can come apart andyou can lend to someone. And depending on how you take itapart and the different modes, yeah I think it’s pretty clever. It’s like the nesting dolls,how many can you do? Yeah, so the idea is if it’sa kid, you can lend the phone, have information sandboxed.
Hacking The Runway: Exploring 5 Fashion Technology & Haute Tech Couture
This is where I’m playing the kid. If you’re in the car and you need to look at GPSinformation on a map and you don’t wanna give yourphone away, same kind of idea. And then if you wanted toshare with a stranger, then you can give themthe smaller piece. So I looked at things like howpeople shared their device, what apps they were sharing,things like that. So there’s a few key thingsthat were interesting.
So depending on the levelof trust of someone, if you trusted them more youwould give them a bigger piece. If we trusted them less, youwould give them a smaller piece. So in everyday use that’s, obviously if youtrust your kid or your wife you’re gonna givethem the bigger piece. With someone on the street, you’re gonna give themthe smaller piece.
Yeah, as you can tell it’s kindof clunky, but I did try to make it smaller but that wasbasically impossible to do. And then I came up witha different number of different modes depending onhow you’re sharing. So if you just straight detachit, it will just give you things like access to the phone,Chrome, things that you normally use and you don’t really careabout private information for. If you care about things likelending an app, specifically, you can do that.
Guest mode which kind of justmakes everything open full access, screen sharing, and then being able to swapthe different modes. This was basicallyeight months of work. But yeah, it was fine. Okay, so, this is kind of whereI got into the fashion stuff. I was stupid andlooked at YouTube comments. Don’t read the comments. So obviously, some trollwas like, this is clunky and looks like shit, basically,and it’s a prototype.
But that got me thinking, I actually was really goodat UX stuff in Comp Sci, and I was always reallydesign-oriented but I never actually thought about thedesign of the physical thing. And especially in wearables,where fashion is very important. So I figured, all right,I’m gonna go into fashion and try some things out. Started working ona bunch of projects.
I started gettinginvolved in MakeFashion, working on a number ofdifferent projects. So my first one is this. So it’s basically a bolo tie. You can kind ofsee them up there. And yeah, there we go. Some pink, so the bolo tie,basically if you’re a cowboy, they’re usually wearingthat little tie. You kind remember thatlike kinda has a string.
So it’s basically thatwith a screen on it. And this was from seed, I think it was the phone at the time. And so basically you puta camera on the back and it looks at the fabric thatthe person’s wearing, and then matches the cordingpattern on the front. And then the lady basicallyhas a heart sensor, and so whichever one she ismost attracted to changes the pattern of the person.
So she’s with this guy becauseshe’s more attracted to this guy than the other two, which is why they’re kind oflooking awkwardly at him. Yeah, it’s basicallya smart bolo tie. So it’s basically likeTinder but in a bolo tie. it end. No, we’re good. It’s coming back. Okay, yeah, so this was basicallymy first sort of. Exploration into fresh techrate after that watch. Or I was like okay,I actually got one on this. So, you can imagine mefinishing that watch, jumping straight into this, and at the time everything wasreally busy and crazy.
So I was kind of the onehelping with addressing them, coordinating them,getting them to work properly, stuff I’d never donebefore basically. And boom, this happened. Are you gonna talk aboutwhat determines the heart? >> Basically just ifshe beats faster and is more attracted to them,then yeah. >> Soit’s taking in certain data and then it’s choosing it for her? Or does she go andself select. She can self select aswell but usually we have a, there’s a sensor kinda in theband that sorta helps with that.
I mean it’s not the most idealthing so usually on runways we have a backup mechanismwhich is usually a button. So in case somethingbreaks you just click it, it’s kind of a secret. But the heart can change,like I’ve changed my mind, I’m gonna go hang outwith someone else. I thought that was pretty cool, but yeah that was my first sortof start into wearable tech. And I had such a goodexperience I figured maybe I’ll actually sewing andthings like that.
So then I actually jumped intothis piece which is called La Bella Fioritura whichmeans the beautiful bloom. It’s version one cuz I’llexplain version two in a bit. So the idea was, I was trying todo a piece that was expressive in the sense that, because it was around springthat we have done the show, I wanted something to bloom.
Hacking The Runway: Exploring 5 Fashion Technology & Haute Tech Couture
So I wanted flowers to bloom,I wanted the wings to bloom. That was kind of the idea,that’s why there is sort of flowers in the backthat kind of bloom. And I hadn’t really donea lot of work in robotics and mechanism kind of things, so this was sort of the firstexperiment in it. I had wanted to build somethingthat actually bloomed, like mechanically, but it wasbasically impossible in Calgary because there’s just nobodydoing any of that stuff.
So, eventually I went toShenzhen Maker Faire last year, and we did a show there. That was where I decided okay,this place is crazy, they have a lot of tech stuff maybe I’lltry to build the wings here. So, I did, at Makeblock. So this is kind of a crazystory and this actually what really motivated thatleft turn in my thesis. So this engineer who’sname is Dolphin, so she was basically fan girl of MakeFashion and Fashion Tech.
They have a lot of lotproducts that are sort of STEM focused, and in robotics. And I showed up there withShannon who runs MakeFashion, and we’re like, maybe wecan built the wings here. You’ve probably seen them,the blue rods. So we were going to doa show on Saturday. So we showed up thereon Wednesday or Tuesday yeah Tuesday.
Like hey guys do you wantto build robotic wings? So I sketched it outon Tuesday morning and we showed up at Tuesdaymorning at 9:30 I sketched it, 10:30 we’re at Makeblock office. Okay, guys do you want tobuild robotic wings and they’re like sure. Let me go ask team. So they send a person back toteam and out comes Dolphin and Cacao, I think his name is. Dolphin is a huge fangirl of fashion tech. She’s only ever doneengineering at Makeblock, so she’s never really doneany fashion stuff, but she has a fashion background.
This was interesting becausewe had to figure out how to actually make a fire dress,basically. So the way it works is we havea belt underneath with LED strips coming down. And this is also my firstexperiment with power on one of these, power on fashion tech. It’s very hard to basicallyproduce lights on a dress. First off you have to defuse itso that she looks really nice.
You’re not justseeing LED strips. Next being power obviously, having to powera number of strips. The original design had Ithink 12 strips but because of power issues, you can’t dothat and it end up being six. The other crazy thing too aboutthis was it didn’t really work up until she walked andeven then it was kinda iffy. So this was my first timesoldering on a girl kinda naked.
So this was supposed to be workingand it didn’t work, and we were just like okay, I’m gonna solder. Just be calm. if you’re hurt, it’s fine. So you’re soldering onher to get it to work. And at this point, I’m like, man, there has to bea better way of doing this. And this happensall the time where the things kind of don’t work. But that was my firstexposure to a lot of things that don’t work.
All right, sonext one is Dolphin. So this is Dolphin, soif you remember before, I showed you her as an engineer,this is her as a model. Now the crazy thing here is whenwe first came on that Wednesday she was all engineer-y, didn’t really think ofherself in a feminine manner. Friday we needed anothermodel so we had 13 pieces and 12 models, so 13th piece wasthis piece that I showed you before which was mine. So we asked her tomodel those pieces and she was like hellno I’m not a model.
And so me and Shannon eventuallyconvinced her to actually model the piece. It took some time,we taught her how to walk, and then she goes up on stage andshe just kills it. She’s basically the best modelby the end of the thing, she gets a lot of applause, she’s super proud there,I think, right. So she’s basically showingoff her femininity through the piece.
And the next day after she haddone the show, she had wrote, equivalently saying, for26 years of my life, I have been a male, in this environment,and I want to be female again. So, it actuallychanged her life, she is now way more femininethan she was before, she’s a much morestronger woman. And for me, seeing how thatchanged was actually pretty powerful in terms of whatyou can actually do with tech in fashion.
Hacking The Runway: Exploring 5 Fashion Technology & Haute Tech Couture
So basically, that left turn inmy sort of thesis was basically because of this story. So now we’re into Post-Runway. So because of that I startedlooking a lot more into what I call haute tech couture. So haute tech is a termfrom in Paris, or French, long time ago,basically just means one-off sort of fashion that’s veryexpensive and high end.
So with tech you’re basicallytaking that same concept and doing one-off expensiveconcepts with tech. So this one is from Asta Rosa, something you guysmight be familiar with, the printing dress, and then with the spider dress. Those are two ofthe most common things. It’s in here, the first one? This one? I will check it out then.
It’s really cool though. And the thing I really likeabout this stuff is that even though it’s just piecesthat I’ve kind of shown, each one is just kind of a stepforward in wearable tech. You’re solving issues of power,where to place batteries, fabrics, and things like that. So as I mentioned before,I’m a part of MakeFashion, and I’m one ofthe technical directors, as well as the head engineer.
And so we basically have 60 designers and engineers all aroundthe globe and we do fashion tech showsbasically everywhere. So I’ll show you a few examplesof interesting pieces this last year that I had eitherseen or been exposed to. So this one is the dream dress. And so the idea isthe dress best reflects the dreams of someone. So she has a littleheadset up top. And so it records the wearer’sdreams in a loose term and then it reflects it in lightson the front, so it’s very, very cool, I think.
This one is one ofmy favorite ones. We call this the drone dress. And basically the drone isattached to the back of the piece from the left andthe right. And as she walks, basically the drone willhold the back of it up. So here’s a shot of it on therunway, which is pretty epic. So it has some cameras on top,and then it basically tracksthe runway lights as it goes.
So it uses computervision to basically keep going down the runway. Now one of the issueshere is that he was using WiFi and Bluetooth. And in a runway environment, the WiFi andBluetooth are basically, nope. So it basically stopped workingnot that far off this shot. But the thing is itlooks really nice and it gets the point across so. What are the cables? This? The cables on the dress. It’s just fabric thatholds the drone in place so when she walks in it keepsthe sort of the bloom aspect.
I think he means the green Yeah, it is. The green, that’sactually just part of the, I think I that before hopefully. So these? These are just part of the design of the piece. Okay, they look a littlebit like Ethernet cables. Yeah,actually I can see that. They are. So this one they were using a bit of recycled material, andthen some lights and everything, so yeah.
And there’s a lot of stuffaround using recycled materials and in fashion tech, so it’s kind of whatthey’re playing with. Okay, yeah, soas I mentioned before, I view Haute Tech Couture as astep forward in solving some of the challenges in wearable techbase to make it more practical. So I don’t know howpractical a drone would be following a piece.
But the idea of a dronefollowing something on clothing actually makes more sense,right? Or in the case of the dreamdress, maybe it’s something else that would be recordingyour dream and somehow would affecton your clothing. Maybe not in that fashion, but in a way that it might makesomething more meaningful.
For example, if someone is ill,and they have really bad dreams, the next day they wake up,someone can tell they had a bad dream through the expressionof their clothing. So now I’m gonna kinda talk alittle bit about my inspiration these days for some ofthe stuff that I’m doing. So these two girls,Lauren and Ashley, are, I wanna say 13 to 14.
They are basically probably thesmartest kids I’ve ever seen or mentored. They probably teach memore than I teach them. They’re really involvedinto fashion tech and anything aroundwearable tech and STEM. So they have learnedbasically STEM and STEM concepts throughfashion tech. So do a lot ofdifferent programming, a lot of different soldering, a lot of differentthings like that. So they actually had a piecethis year, so these are the two. So these are them on the runway. So they’re the designers, the engineers, they’re female,they’re models. thankyou.