Becoming one with technology

To suit changing weather conditions. Better still, think of the time you could save with self-lacing shoes like Marty McFly’s from Back to the Future.

Media Design Programme Director Anne Niemetz with one of her wearable technology designs.

That’s not completely unrealistic, according to Victoria’s Anne Niemetz, programme director of Media Design at the School of Design.

Anne’s passion for wearable technology developed during a stint as a teaching assistant while completing postgraduate studies at a Californian university. Her supervisor’s enthusiasm for the topic was infectious.

Twelve years on, Anne has established a wearable technology course at Victoria, in which she passes her passion on to her students.

Outside of the University, Anne has used her knowledge of wearable technology to collaborate with choreographers on multimedia performances.

In 2014, she and a New Zealand choreographer produced an experimental dance performance where two dancers were equipped with body sensors and could control the pace of a 16 mm film projector, and the sound environment around them, through body movement.

She has also designed a wearable technology costume for the renowned World of Wearable Art show—a feat that some of her students have also gone on to achieve.

However, she believes that the future of wearable technology lies with its recently discovered commercial potential.

“When I first got involved with wearable technology, Arduino—an easy-to-use open source electronics platform—didn’t exist, but this technology has opened up the door for a lot of designers, and the possible commercial applications in this field have become clear,” says Anne.

“We already have watches and items of clothing that can monitor our health. I expect in future wearable technology will become so advanced that devices will be near invisible and will act as second skins.”