Main Project Inspirations: Wearable Technologies

For my main project this semester, I want to pursue wearable technology. Electronics has always been an interest of mine, specifically how it can be used to interface directly with people. Wearable technology is a great example of this. Put simply, I hope to design worn technology that assists in and/or enhances the everyday tasks of the average person.

One example I found particularly inspiring was a collaboration with Levis and Google. Together, they designed a jacket for bicycle commuters that utilized conductive thread to recognize hand gestures. This meant you could control basic aspects of your phone just by touching your jacket.

Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker Jacket:


Another interesting example of wearable technology is the company The Unseen. They developed apparel and accessories that changed colors based on environmental factors. In the following example, a bag changes color based on heat (hand prints).

The Unseen:


The two examples given above are fairly specific and/or not very practical. More general functionality can be found with the work of Emel + Aris. This company makes smart coats with heating capabilities.

Emel + Aris Smart Jacket:


One final example is a company, Wearable Experiments, that designed a jersey for football fans that provided users with vibrations mimicking the action on screen. This effect is achieved with Bluetooth technology.

Wearable Technologies:


What all the above examples have in common is their ability to enhance our connection with the world around us. While the type of connection differs, these products allow us to feel closer to the world and the people around us. In this way, for my main project I want to create a wearable technology that enhances our experience when we meet other people. One of my initial ideas was a shirt that lights up when you shake someones hand. This has a similar effect that social media has when we receive likes, except it takes place in real life and when you interact with actual people.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Abdulrahman Nashawi
    February 23, 2020 8:53 pm

    Hello Jackson! You have a really interesting idea that makes me excited to see your final project and how it turns out to be. You have picked a very unique criteria for your project that I believe would be challenging, but still a lot of fun and learning. After reading your examples, I feel that they are slightly more complicated than what the project asks for; are you planning on starting from scratch or building up to something that already exists? Good luck on your project!

    • Jackson Hootman
      February 23, 2020 10:20 pm

      Thanks Abdulrahman! My plan is to start from scratch in most aspects of the project. There are, however, existing resources that will make my project easier. I’ve already taken the sewing workshop which will help modify existing clothing. Additionally, I plan on using LED strips which are easy to program with the neopixel adafruit library. As for the sensing aspect of the project, I’ll have to do some prototyping but I’m thinking capacitive touch.

  • Justin Engbrecht
    February 20, 2020 5:42 pm

    Hello Jackson. I think wearable tech is a great angle for a main project in this course! Of these examples, the heated jacket seems most interesting and useful to me, though I do tend to have a pretty utilitarian perspective when it comes to products. Wearable tech is still nascent, so you have a ton of possibilities moving forward and are only truly limited by your imagination. Do you have a plan for narrowing down your intentions for this product? Will you likely proceed with your initial light-up shirt idea, or spend a good bit of time considering several possibilities and weighing each of their merits against each other?

    • Jackson Hootman
      February 23, 2020 10:25 pm

      Thanks Justin! This may be a bit optimistic but I’d like to develop a whole series. The ideas I am most excited about are the shirt that lights up when you high-five or shake hands with someone, shoes that change color based on the number of steps you’ve done, and a hat that provides light based on brightness.


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