In the business world, Power-Dress means getting a ‘professional looking’ outfit, not to catchy, not to low profile. Your outfit should show you are in charge.
In Wearable Electronic, Power-Dress has a different meaning, it actually generates power which in turn can be used to power Blackberries, iPhones and so forth. Point in case: Amanda Parkes’ and Adam Kumpf’s Piezing dress.
The Piezing dress generates power using the natural movement of the human body. The fabric around the joints is woven with piezoelectric film fibers which convert mechanical strain, created during the fabric’s movement, into electrical power while the wearer moves around.
With a positive charge on one side and a negative charge on the other, the piezoelectric material creates a voltage when it is deformed like bent or twisted. An integrated rectifier circuit connects the strips to capacitors which store electrical charge and feed the electrical power to the coin batteries disguised as buttons.
The creative power behind the Piezing, Amanda Parkes and Adam Kumpf are grad students at MIT Media Lab.
Their Piezing power-dress was part of a runway fashion show last Friday at the ‘2nd Skin: Imaginative Designs in Digital & Analog Clothing’ at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
The Piezing design concept is extending the growing list of wearable power concepts. Although the electricity generated in this way might not be able to power an MP3 player or cell phone, it will be sufficient for sensors monitoring heart rate or other biometric parameters interesting for fitness and sport enthusiasts.
While the necessary clothing movement to make the Piezing concept work might not be sufficient in street wear it will work fine in sports clothing where movement is an essential part.
A brilliant idea using piezo material to power future clothing which will be populated with electronic functions to form a second skin extending our senses beyond the passive clothing we wear today.