Modularity has changed the way we use technology – and Borre Akkersdijk wants to bring this same transformation to wearable technology. Specifically, Akkersdijk is bringing modularity to clothing.
Akkersdijk, a self-described textiles designer, has reimagined clothing as input devices, Wi-Fi routers, and even air purifiers. These proof-of-concept pieces have their tech functionality adapted to where they are being showcased, and constitute clothing items that solve localized problems.
Sound like a mouthful? Here’s a concrete example: Akkersdijk was invited to showcase another of his projects, a pillow for those with severe dementia, at the renowned SXSW (South by Southwest) festival. Akkersdijk, however, wanted to make a stronger impact, so he asked friends and colleagues what challenges SXSW often posed to them as an attendee. The feedback was overwhelmingly about the lack of a steady, dependable Wi-Fi signal at the event. Akkersdijk then designed the BB.Suit. The BB.Suit is a 3D knitted onesie that doubles as a Wi-Fi access point. It also has a battery pack and a GPS tracker. Akkersdijk chose the onesie design in order to prompt passers-by to ask questions, rather than making a sweater which could be worn and used “incognito” at the event.
And it certainly caught many peoples’ attention, including that of the organizers of Beijing Design Week. For this event, Akkersdijk created a new version of the BB.Suit that, instead of providing Wi-Fi and GPS, purified the air around it – up to 100 sqft (30 cubic meters) of air, to be exact.
“It’s just a proof of concept,” Akkersdijk says. “The intention was…to make something that was just a path. Hey, it’s again the location, the aesthetics, the technology, that comes together—it’s not about one of those things, it’s about the concept of making a platform on and around the body. It can do something different in every location.”
Akkersdij k views these projects as first steps in the ultimate goal for wearables: enabling communication in an organic way that frees the wearer from smartphone-dependence. He even calls the current generation of wearables “carryables,” as they require inputs and a secondary device to function fully.
— ByBorre (@byB0RRE) July 1, 2015
Akkersdijk studied at Eindhoven Design Academy in the Netherlands and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. A few years after finishing his studies, he was drawn to smart textiles via his own interest in knitting techniques. Working with the Technical University of Eindhoven, Akkersdijk helped develop new ways of integrating sensor technology into fabrics.
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