Student volunteers pose with Team GameWear’s fantasy garment, EXPERIENCE, left, and exercise garment, MOTION, right.

Team wins international competition merging fashion, science and technology

Physics graduate student Neal Reynolds, center, accepts the Upstyle Star Award for Concept Design on behalf of Team GameWear.

A team of four students – three Cornell University graduate students and one undergraduate from the National University of Colombia – was recently awarded an Upstyle Star Award, taking first prize for their garment concepts using technology and geared toward the fitness and gaming communities.

The first Upstyle Award: International Competition for Fashion, Science and Technology, held in January in Shanghai, China, was open to design professionals who use science and technology to improve people’s lives. It is the first global scientific and technological innovation competition in the fields of fashion and lifestyle, and aims to promote fashion design, lead intelligent manufacturing, and accelerate the scientific and technological advancement of the fashion industry.

Team GameWear consisted of Cornell graduate students Eric Beaudette and Lina Sanchez Botero in the field of fiber science, graduate student Neal Reynolds in the field of physics, and Jose Mateo Aristizabal, an undergraduate in electrical engineering at the National University of Colombia.

“The development and widespread use of the internet-enabled smartphone has led to a revolution in the way data are integrated into our daily routines,” the team said in its submission to the competition’s jury. “Fitness tracking apps have allowed users to take control of their health, and augmented reality apps such as Pokémon Go have brought joy to millions.”

Through the advent of inexpensive internet-enabled chips and interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, Team GameWear saw the opportunity for even greater interaction with one’s environment and clothing.

“We capitalize on this promise by developing two fashion-conscious smart garments based on similar technologies,” the students said. “Our goal was to develop unique, aesthetically striking garments that leverage high-quality optical components, sensors and new microcontroller technologies to deliver reactivity and responsiveness.”

Team GameWear won the concept design category.

The athletic garment, MOTION, a wearable system for exercise monitoring, is designed to be a rugged, comfortable workout companion for the everyday user to enhance their exercise through data. It integrates electronics into the apparel that could be used for interactive games targeting fitness and health, reading data from the heart rate sensor and accelerometers embedded in the fabric.

The fantasy garment, EXPERIENCE, is meant to make the world of gaming seem real. It is aimed at those looking for a garment for festivals, live action role playing and everyday life. It provides a sensation or augmented reality experience for users and has the ability to interact with other smart garments.

“Statistics show that sales of smart wearable accessories, such as the FitBit and Apple Watch, have risen 17.9 percent from 2016 to 2017, presenting promise for the consumer acceptance of smart clothing,” the team said. “We believe these garments will help take fashionable, high-tech garments from the runway into the everyday.”

Following the success of the UpStyle Award, the interdisciplinary team is planning to launch a startup focusing on product development, and research and development of wearable technology.

Stephen D’Angelo is assistant director of communications in the College of Human Ecology.

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