Weekly updates:

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Weekly updates

Okay, so you might not be turning up on a Friday night with this gear on anytime soon, but you’ve got to admit that these brands, engineers and artists are taking the base concept of wearable tech and pushing it in the kind of musical and performative direction that hasn’t really been explored to a great extent before.

Remember those sneakers with the flashing lights that the snotty kid next door used to rep 24/7 when you were younger? Orphes are like the grown up version of those with a bluetooth module, iOS compatibility and 100 controllable LED lights. The only downside is that if you’re not a street dancer with profitable skills or an attention-seeking parkour fanatic, you’re going to look like a complete dork rolling about in these. Still, the completely straight-faced and dedicated way in which the designers discuss the shoe is kind of admirable and makes me want to see just how far a user could push the tech.
Good news for those of you who love branding yourselves as ‘early adopters’, too – the Orphe is currently earning a backing through the least reliable form of consumer-provider exchange possible: crowdfunding! They’re currently $8,000 short of the goal with 42 days left so if you feel like dropping $295 on some fly glowing shoes, you can help them out here.

The other piece of apparel in the video gallery might not be quite as easy to acquire since it pretty much belongs in an actual gallery. Entitled SHOWPIECE, the jacket closely resembles a sample pad with sleeves and, essentially, that’s what it is. While a lot of what’s seen in the video seems surreptitiously like a lot of magical camera work rather than an actual performative object, the delicate construction of the 52 push sensors and visible Arduino Lilypad boards in the back sleeve suggests otherwise. The designer, Ylenia Gortana, has created finite, fashion objects as art previously which are just as remarkable as SHOWPIECE and well worth your time.

I’m dreaming of the day when you go to check the time on your watch and the movement of your sleeve against a pocket starts a trill horn sequence. You reach behind your back to turn it off and the sensors in your hat make it start flashing and spinning uncontrollably until it begins to levitate off your head. You’re jumping up and down to try and catch it and the pressure on your shoes make them begin to blare a myriad of tribal percussion samples, your pant legs echoing guttural howls in the audible spaces between each belly-churning drum thump. You try to clasp your hands against your ears but your sunglasses begin interpreting different colours on the light spectrum as spoken words and they’re being repeated over and over through vibrations in your skull. You go to look at your watch again and there is no time, only the gaunt reflection of your terrified face in the tiny glass facade of a wrist mounted digital harpsichord. Greensleeves begins to play in a pitched down dub warble, colours drowning out your features until there is just the Bluetooth logo sitting square in the centre of your head. You sink to the ground, expecting everything to go black and silent but it only gets louder and brighter. When the police find you, all that is left is a URL leading to a crowdsourcing page. You have been unsuccessfully funded.

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