Energy on the Body @ Eyebeam

**This post is from Kate’s blog – http://blog.sicchio.com/?p=333 **

On December 11th Eyebeam had an other panel in their Computational Fashion series. This one focused on ‘Energy on the Body’ and featured three speakers: Dan Steingart, John Kymissis and Amanda Parkes. This panel was much more focused on technology than the previous one which was ‘high fashion’ and was much more thought-provoking in that it shared researched rather than people’s opinions on commercial endeavours.

One of the themes that was throughout the three presentations was the idea of energy harvesting. The success of this was somewhat debated. While Steingart was adamant that harvesting is too difficult to implement in meaningful ways, Kymissis and Parkes were more open to the idea and both had projects that successfully used energy harvesting, particularly in the forms of photovoltaics and people powered devices (i.e. wind-up flashlight). Kymissis has worked on a show power project and Parkes worked with choreographer Prue Lang to create a completely sustainable dance piece, Un réseau translucide. Another project of Prue Lang also features energy harvesting shoes (1 hours of dancing = 1 minute of light).

Other highlights of the panel included discussions around batteries and other materials that are becoming flexible and printable. Steingart’s research lab has been creating flexible batteries that can be produced in any shape or size, using similar principles to that of spandex materials and mesh reinforcements (like concrete). This battery can also be used as a flex sensor. It won’t blow up and won’t catch fire. Kymissis’s lab CLUE has been printed electronics with DIY techniques such as screen printing to produce thin film electronics and even printing electronics onto fabric.

Overall this panel was informative on what others are doing with energy and what seems to be working in energy harvesting.

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