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Om Malik: As electronics get smaller, clothes are getting smarter
2014-07-04 8:16am -07:00T Visit Om Malik


At the Bay Area Maker Faire in May, Anouk Wipprecht stood on stage as Tesla Coils sent close to a million volts of electricity coursing through her chain mail suit.

Wipprecht also wore a 3D printed dress, plus plasma balls on her shoulders that glowed with each arc of lightning. It was the equivalent of a Fashion Week runway show for the geeks who had gathered at the Faire to see the latest robots, drones and wacky inventions.

Arc Attack Tesla Coils send electricity coursing through arts Anouk Wipprecht's suit. Photo courtesy of Anouk Wipprecht.

Arc Attack Tesla Coils send electricity coursing through arts Anouk Wipprecht’s suit. Photo courtesy of Anouk Wipprecht.

Wipprecht has created a dress that extends spider-like legs when someone draws too close and another dress that becomes transparent when you want someone near. Each creation interacts with its environment, telling the world something about its wearer without them ever having to open their mouth.

“I make statement pieces,” Wipprecht said in a recent interview with me. “It’s the very poetic nature of what electronics can do.”

But like the fashion that appears on Paris or New York’s runways, her creations are not exactly practical for...

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