Photo credit: Daniel Loewe. Project: Svala
Imagine your dress becomes your means of transportation! This was the briefing the students at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Barcelona received from BMW. The result are 5 concepts for future mobility in cities like Barcelona, that result from morphing fashion with transport design. Great to see that all designs are electric and solar powered. They are meant to be sustainable solutions for individuals to get around town in pedestrianised zones. The prototypes of "The Dress That Transports You" (El Traje que te transporta) can be seen in the centre of Barcelona until the end of the month. If you can't make it, here is an overview.Svala
Photo credit: Daniel Loewe. Svala by Dalila Alejandra Cuéllar, Loren Juan Profanter and Alfredo Marín García.
Svala, meaning swallow in Swedish, is inspired by this bird's wings. The dress activates when you put it on and wheels you around the city while protecting you with its weather-proof and biodegradable textile. You can station the vehicle vertically so that the solar panels can charge for your next ride, and power the LED lights that help illuminate the city at night when Svala is parked.
Photo credit: Daniel Loewe. B-Motion by Ana Cristina García, Natalia Pérez Rodríguez and Daniel Velarde.
This dress takes inspiration from animations, and consists of a suit and a digital skate that you can take with you in a backpack. This bodysuit is made from Spinnaker (a special type of sail like that of the Plastiki) and lights up or changes colour according to the feelings of the user. It also inflates itself when extra protection is needed. The skate reacts to the pressure of the feet.
Photo credit: Daniel Loewe. City Skiing by María Andrea Levin, Benedikt Luedke & Cristian Fuentes Ferrero.
City Skiing lets you do cross-country skiing in the city, so you can practice this sport in an urban environment without being noisy or contaminating. An invisible technology is integrated in both the suit and the boots. Nano-wheels for example let you slide along with more or less speed. Using your arms and a special lighting system built into the suit, you can indicate the brake lights or turn signal, plus the whole thing comes with an integrated GPS system... anything else?
Comme des Voitures
Photo credit: Daniel Loewe. City Skiing by Andy Soto & Alex de Sola.
Comme des Voitures is probably the scariest to imagine. It consists of a helmet made of OLED, a spinal protection and some intelligent Segway system boots. The suit and helmet communicate via a special software and exchange information to inform, protect and guide the user. You can talk to the helmet and ask him information about the city for example, which is then projected in front of you. The spinal protection in inspired by the spine and apart from protecting it, it generates the energy necessary to operate the whole system. The boots work exactly like the existing Segway personal transporters; by leaning your weight forward you accelerate and by leaning backwards you reduce the speed.
Photo credit: Daniel Loewe. Flymag by Ingrid Gomà Knorn, Laura García Domínguez & Pablo Velasco Migoya.
Flagway is a sort of elastic cardigan and a vehicle. The dress holds the driver who sort of hangs by the spinal cord between the wheels. By rotating the body, you can drive the object left or right. This agile movement has been made possible by reducing the vehicle to a mere skeleton, minimising the amount of materials necessary. Its small size also allows the user to carry the vehicle like a backpack or a trolley.
The projects definitely make you imagine future ways of transportation that are smoother, less polluting, silent and possibly safer, but for now, I guess I am quite happy with my bicycle which fulfills quite a lot of the same criteria with much less fuss. A fun project though, and let's hope BMW also learnt something from it so that we can soon see some real eco-innovative vehicles out there. For more information, visit IED Barcelona or Iniciativa BMW.