Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wearable Techhnology: Chinese Death Skates

Unravel 2007, is a fashion exhibition with a difference,and showcases designers who combine fashion and functionality into wearable technology. It was part of the annual Siggraph convention, an international digital graphics and animation conference in San Diego recently. Part of the showcase this year included a self-sustainable chair and inflatable dress made out of polyethylene that was connected to an air pump in the shoes. When activated walking causes the dress to slowly inflate into a chair until it is firm enough for the user to sit on. The chair deflates into a flat dress again. The conceptual garment designed by Joo Youn Paek is to motivate people to enjoy walking and sitting as a loop behaviour on the street' (sic. not too sure it will catch on but could be very useful for people complaining of severe circulatory and or ambulatory disorders). Something which may have more immediate commercial appeal was a brainchild of Andrew Schneider who developed a solar bikini which features strips of flexible solar panels sewn into the fabric of garment with conductive thread. The bikini pumps out up to 5 volts of power and when connected through a USB cable can charge a mobile or an iPod music player. Talking of wearable technology, motorized roller blades are the new underground craze. The blades have a 10-pound engine encased in a seven-inch box on the heel of the right boot which sits above a plastic fuel tank. The tank holds a litre of two-stroke petrol and drives a 25cc motor and top speed of 20mph. The blades are controlled with a handheld throttle and can burn up to max speed in just a few seconds. There are no brakes but there is a shut-off button which acts like an emergency stop, leaving the SK8er to freefall to a halt. If the skates were legal (still debated) they would be classed as a motorized vehicle and users need a driving license, insurance and L-plates. Available in China as Gasoline Skating Shoes, a consignment was recently seized by UK Customs and Excise Officers amid safety fears. Dubbed Chinese Death Skates , the authorities believe the exhaust vent and starter cable lie dangerously close to each other. Anything petrol can do, electricity can do more environmentally friendly and now Go-llerblades from Instructables member "Stasterisk" are available.

Interesting Sites
Gasoline Roller Skating Shoes

Go-llerbladees: Motorized Skates - Part 1

Go-llerbladees: Motorized Skates - Part 2

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