I thought I would take this week to talk about one of my professors, Dr. Dunne, and her latest creation. Dr. Dunne is an apparel design professor who focuses on wearable technologies and electronic clothing innovations. She is the professor who lead my class's project with NASA. She also heads up the University of Minnesota College of Design's Wearable Technology lab, which is located in McNeal Hall. I also worked with her, in this lab, for a project in collaboration with engineering students, to create handbags and luggage with the power to power a cell phone or other USB device with solar panels.
Dr Dunne's latest project, which I have seen throughout the process, is her smart technology glove created to help firefighters in work settings. The glove has sensors in it, to allow firefighters to "see" through smoke and dimly lite areas and allow them to move through an area without feeling around to sense their surroundings. It works similarly to echolocation, by sending out signals and reporting back to how far away things are. You point around the room and the glove will vibrate based on how far away things are: harsh vibrate for things that are close and a softer one for ones that are far away. Using this technology, a firefighter can more safely and more quickly maneuver their way through dangerous situations. This is a great example of how apparel design has real world, non fashion, uses, ones that are being innovated every day within the college of design. If you're interested in learning more about the project, here is a great article:
And a photo of the prototype:
Lucie, Apparel Design