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Photos: Computational couture

The "Seamless" fashion show features a dress made from recycled cassette tapes, among other technology-based garb.
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By Bill Detwiler on
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Sonic Fabric

The Feb. 1 "Seamless" fashion show at the Boston Museum of Science will feature innovative and experimental pieces of technology-based apparel. Among the garments on display will be Alyce Santoro's "Sonic Fabric," a textile woven from 50 percent recycled, recorded audiocassette tape and 50 percent cotton. The material retains its magnetism, and pieces made from it can be "listened to" by dragging an apparatus made from a tape head along its surface. "Seamless" is part of the "When Science Meets Art" series at the museum.

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Sonic Fabric

Santoro says her "Sonic Fabric" textiles--woven from recycled, recorded audiocassette tape and cotton--were inspired by small strands of cassette tape used as wind indicators, or "tell-tails," on sailboats, and by Tibetan prayer flags inscribed with wind-activated blessings. Santoro is a Brooklyn-based visual and sound artist with a background in marine biology and scientific illustration.

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Exhausted

"Exhausted," by Marisa Jahn and Steve Shada, features two vests sewn with an accordion-like instrument between them. Individuals wear the vests while facing one another; as the two participants embrace and pull away, their movements generate sound.

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Elephant outfit

Gemma Shusterman's "Endangered Senses" was inspired, says the artist, by the human tendency to understand the rest of the natural world solely in terms of human experience.

The elephant-inspired costume investigates the pachyderms' ability to detect infrasonic and seismic vibrations. The outfit has long telescoping sleeves that conceal the arms and hands and connect to the floor. Thus, the human is asked to sacrifice defining human characteristics (being bipedal, with opposable thumbs) in order to experience a supplemental sense. Shusterman is a student at MIT's Media Lab.

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Space Dress

"Space Dress" inflates and expands in size, according to user wants. It's designed to cope with stress, anxiety and claustrophobic situations--or, simply, to offer comfort. Teresa Almeida, who lives in New York, originally designed the garment for coping with harried rush hour in New York City's subway system.

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Dark Watch

Programmer and designer John Rothenberg's "Dark Watch" is a mobile communication device that takes the form of a watch but modulates according to an interval of time set by the user. The LED display embedded in a silicon rubber is intended to communicate forbidden information in a semi-public, encoded form.

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Hoodie

"Heartbeat Hoodie" by Diana Eng incorporates a digital camera that takes photographs as your heart rate increases. It uses a wireless heart rate monitor and a basic stamp algorithm. Heartbeat Hoodie is intended as a form of involuntary blogging, says the creator, a recently ousted contestant on the reality TV show "Project Runway."

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taptap

Leonardo Bonanni, Jeff Lieberman, Cati Vaucelle and Orit Zuckerman created a wearable accessory called taptap that can record and play back signals that mimic affectionate human contact. Flexible touch circuits can be placed in modular pockets within the scarf to record and play back the pressure of touch, the warmth of contact or the percussion of a friendly tap.

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iPod Status

David Lu's iPod Status is a wearable information display. It reads artist and title information about the currently playing song on an attached iPod, and presents this information on a small screen that attaches to any messenger bag shoulder strap. Lu, who lives in Seattle, says iPod Status is intended to encourage social connectedness by making this usually hidden information visible.

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