BRIGHT IDEAS SHINE NEW LIGHT ON INVENTIONS
Jean Sullivian, March 24, 2011
OCEAN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
OCVTS students were asked to challenge their imaginations and test their skills during the Wearable Electronics Challenge 2011. The contest, sponsored by the Ocean County College Tech Prep Consortium, proposed the task to design and create a new, innovative use of electronic technology incorporated into wearable garments. Participants had to produce a working prototype, create a display board and a detailed presentation before a panel of judges. Judging involved creativity, originality of design, programming, quality of storyboard, narrative presentation and demonstration of product.
Three OCVTS teams presented their ideas at the competition at Ocean County College, Friday, March 25.
Taking First Place in the competition was a team comprised of students from the Computer Science, A+ Certification and the Health and Fitness Programs from the OCVTS Toms River Center. Together they designed the “Interactive Bicycle Safety Jacket.” The nylon jacket incorporated a pattern of LED lights on the back which could be activated by small touch button controls sewn into the sleeve cuffs. When a bicyclist, riding at night, wanted to make a right or left turn, they could squeeze the cuff of the corresponding sleeve and a pattern of lights, similar to a turn signal would light up on the back of the jacket, clearly signaling others of the cyclist’s intentions. In the case of any mechanical trouble or for increased visibility both controls could be activated creating a blinking warning signal.
Second Place went to the “Interactive Atmospheric Hydration Detector,” with team members also from the Computer Science, A+ Certification and the Health and Fitness Programs, as well as Cosmetology, from the OCVTS Toms River Center. This device also incorporated into a jacket, utilizes a person’s level of perspiration to activate an LED strip which would alert the wearer of an elevated level of hydration loss. The sensors were located in the shoulder of the jacket and the LED strip was sewn into the front of the jacket. A time and temperature gauge was sewn into the sleeve of the jacket and an accelorameter was sewn into the flap of the pocket which could be used for further adaptations such as a pedometer or GPS unit.
Team 3 incorporated electronic technology into wearable art. Students from the Fashion Merchandising/Design and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning programs from the OCVTS Brick Center constructed an elaborate mermaid dress using conductive thread which created a circuit for blinking lights throughout the garment. While the lights on the upper bodice could be turned on by a switch, special flickering lights in the tulle skirt could be activated by sensors in specialized gloves coming in contact with moisture. Of course a mermaid dress would not be complete without accessories which included a handbag fashioned to look like a small octopus. The bag was equipped with a camera and microphone.