TORONTO WEARABLES MEETUP 17: CAROL MOUKHEIBER, CHRISTOS MARCOPOULOS, DAVID CECCHETTO
Friday August 19th, 2016

This month Professor Carol Moukheiber and Assistant Professor Christos Marcopoulos from U of T’s Responsive Architecture at Daniel’s Lab (RAD Lab), and OCADU’s own Assistant Professor David Cecchetto joined us for a presentation and discussion on the “Internet of Things” and the human relationship to technology.

Carol and Carlos, who are both architects, discussed their vision of the future as one in which “ultimately every object is going to have an IP address”.  This “Internet of Things” (IoT) that they are referring to is ultimately a spatial concept that simultaneously expands and condenses our sense of space, and has a direct effect on architecture. It is then understandable how they could come to be interested in home textiles and ultimately create their IM Blankie, a responsive blanket that tracks and monitors a sleeper’s body positioning.   The blanket’s overlay of intricate laser-cut conductive fabric circuitry is as ornamental as it is functional.  To monitor position of the body they've created a hex grid with tilt sensor zones.  Each tilt sensor is a series of pads with a conductive tassel in the centre.  As a person moves beneath the blanket, the tassel falls on a different pad, which determines the direction or tilt of that particular grid section of the blanket.  They used a combination of hard and soft circuitry techniques as a means to ensure stability of the design.  Interestingly, the layout, ornamental and decorative design aspects to the blanket were also the most efficient for the flow of electrons through the soft circuitry.  They were inspired by the logic of nature and the artificial similarities to stems, hubs, and pistels (as in a plant or flower) led them to the most functional and effective design for this large-scale project.  They are currently working on a next version that will focus even more on system that allows for the passive monitoring of a person, perhaps leading to increased autonomous living among the elderly.

David Cecchetto spoke to the audience about his view on wearable technology, stemming from his own research into areas of affect.  “Wearable technology thinks less about the historical body and more about how the body is embedded in its activities.”  He informed us that the body is entrained to act/react to certain processes, and further, that technologies are not “tools”, rather they are material coagulations, in such a way that an object that is a process itself.  As an example, part of what the pen is, is a memory of writing.  There is a reason that we pick up a pen and write with it.  He states “if technologies are exteriorizations of ourselves, then they are effectively memory tools.  So, we can be thinking of wearables in terms of memory.”  They are mnemotechnics, devices that assist us in memory behaviours.  The audience wrangled with these ideas put forth by David, at which point we opened up to a large group discussion about the human-techno relationship and wearables’ place within it.



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This month Professor Carol Moukheiber and Assistant Professor Christos Marcopoulos from U of T’s Responsive Architecture at Daniel’s Lab (RAD Lab), and OCADU’s own Assistant Professor David Cecchetto joined us for a presentation and discussion on the “Internet of Things” and the human relationship to technology.

Carol and Carlos, who are both architects, discussed their vision of the future as one in which “ultimately every object is going to have an IP address”.  This “Internet of Things” (IoT) that they are referring to is ultimately a spatial concept that simultaneously expands and condenses our sense of space, and has a direct effect on architecture. It is then understandable how they could come to be interested in home textiles and ultimately create their IM Blankie, a responsive blanket that tracks and monitors a sleeper’s body positioning.   The blanket’s overlay of intricate laser-cut conductive fabric circuitry is as ornamental as it is functional.  To monitor position of the body they've created a hex grid with tilt sensor zones.  Each tilt sensor is a series of pads with a conductive tassel in the centre.  As a person moves beneath the blanket, the tassel falls on a different pad, which determines the direction or tilt of that particular grid section of the blanket.  They used a combination of hard and soft circuitry techniques as a means to ensure stability of the design.  Interestingly, the layout, ornamental and decorative design aspects to the blanket were also the most efficient for the flow of electrons through the soft circuitry.  They were inspired by the logic of nature and the artificial similarities to stems, hubs, and pistels (as in a plant or flower) led them to the most functional and effective design for this large-scale project.  They are currently working on a next version that will focus even more on system that allows for the passive monitoring of a person, perhaps leading to increased autonomous living among the elderly.

David Cecchetto spoke to the audience about his view on wearable technology, stemming from his own research into areas of affect.  “Wearable technology thinks less about the historical body and more about how the body is embedded in its activities.”  He informed us that the body is entrained to act/react to certain processes, and further, that technologies are not “tools”, rather they are material coagulations, in such a way that an object that is a process itself.  As an example, part of what the pen is, is a memory of writing.  There is a reason that we pick up a pen and write with it.  He states “if technologies are exteriorizations of ourselves, then they are effectively memory tools.  So, we can be thinking of wearables in terms of memory.”  They are mnemotechnics, devices that assist us in memory behaviours.  The audience wrangled with these ideas put forth by David, at which point we opened up to a large group discussion about the human-techno relationship and wearables’ place within it.