What a cuddly signal


Hot on the heels of marketing the teddybear cellphone comes this RF energized teddybear pyjama.

Best, Imelda, Cork.


Below today's Irish Times article I've typed in the info on the attachment (China) I sent you yesterday. Imelda


[by] Dick Ahlstrom

The latest in high fashion party wear has a little something extra to offer this year. A Dublin-based research group has developed a stylish dress that looks good but also tells you how the woman wearing it feels about you (right).

These are no ordinary ball gowns. One includes sensors that detect the heart as it pulses and matches the beat by lighting up a bright red panel across the front of the dress. The faster the beat, the faster the panel flashes, lighting up like a neon sign.

A second gown samples the wearer's "alert" response seen in changes to her "galvanic skin response", how well the skin conducts electricity. The more impact a male suitor has, the higher her alert status, and this raises - or lowers if you are not doing well - the brightness of spheres suspended in the garment's outer layer.

These gowns have the potential to take some of the mystery out of human relations but the goal is not to win hearts but to develop wearable electronics.

A number of dresses that combine fashion with electronic signal processing were developed by the Adaptive Information Cluster (AIC). The Cluster is a multi-disciplinary research group involving senior researchers from Dublin City University's centre for sensor research and School of Computer Applications, and University College Dublin's School of Computer Science and Informations, explains the head of the UCD school and an AIC principal investigator, Prof Barry Smyth.

The Cluster received Science Foundation Ireland funding worth €7 million and brings together the work of five PIs, says Smyth, "each of them a professor in either UCD or DCU". It combines the efforts of scientists working in disparate areas including sensor science, software engineering, electronic engineering and computer science.

Headed by DCU's Prof Dermot Diamond, the AIC started up about two years ago and involves the work of about 70 researchers, says Smyth.

PhD candidate at UCD Lucy Dunne carried out the research that delivered a number of "expressive garments" that include sensors that read the wearer's mood. They detect pulse rate, galvanic skin response, the "startle" response and whether the person is laughing, explains Dunne.

The gowns are smart in two ways, looking well but also capturing real-time information on a person's physiological condition. They incorporate sensor technology developed at DCU with electronics, but must still be able to go into the washing machine after the ball and come out working.

These are no ordinary sensors, she says. "It is a really nice crushable foam and integrates well into clothing and is washable."

Changes in the foam's shape produce changes in its electrical response, generating a signal that the smart dress interprets.

The trick is knowing where to put the sensor to get useable information, she adds. While the four gowns she designed, two of which have been installed as part of a display at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art in Utah, US, focus on individual expression, "most of my research is about function".

Wearable electronics could deliver many useful functions, particularly in the medical area. People with limited movement could activate switches or direct motorised wheelchairs using this technology.

Dunne has also produced a prototype sports jersey that monitors heart rate and respiratory effort and the technology could be built into trainers to monitor pace and gait.

© The Irish Times


[by] Edel Kennedy

Parents working away from home could soon be able to give their children a bedtime cuddle from the other side of the world. Wacky inventors have created a pair of hi-tech pyjamas which can simulate the sense of touch and can be controlled over the internet. The makers of the 175 [euros] pyjamas say children will be able to go to sleep comforted by a long-distance 'cyber cuddle'. The unusual garments work through a teddy bear with a tiny computer inside. When a parent touches the bear it will send a wireless signal over the internet to the same area on the pyjamas. The pyjamas will be embedded with air channels, similar to straws, which will inflate or deflate depending on the signal they receive, thus 'hugging' the wearer. Created by researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, scientist Adrian David Cheok said that they are now working on developing the perfect comfortable garments for children and adults. 'These days, parents go on a lot of business trips, but with children, hugging and touching are very important,' he said. However, critics have pointed out that it would be a very poor substitute for the real thing. 'Any system that uses technology to replace parental affection is misleading and not beneficial in terms of parenting,' said a spokeswoman for the ISPCC."


Teddy bear mobile ‘puts 4-year-olds at risk from radiation’


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