Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beagle Scarf – medical fashion for Autism...

During discussions around wearable electronic a repeated topic is the usefulness or the lack thereof to integrate technical functions into clothing. While usually the debate of function into ‘every-days clothing’ is controversial and full of opinions there is one area where most can connect easily, seeing the benefits and usefulness of textile electronics, the medical area. Nobody likes to be in a situation where the life quality depends on medical devices to be carried, to be worn. Especially not if they look purely functional, shouting out to the world – here you see we're in need of medical aids. Leo Chao, student at Vancouver’s Emily Charr Institute is one of the creative/innovative designer who observe carefully the needs of certain groups of people and combine it with the possibilities wearable technologies offer. Leo’s concept: the Beagle Scarf, a garment co-created with autistic children and their parents. Beagle Scarf integrates sound, smell, and texture, making it a wearable and portable medical assistance device for Autistic children who suffer from a sensory disorder where they sometimes need to be blocked or stimulated from certain senses to feel relieved. Speakers integrated into the hood provide a soothing sound wrap around the child’s ears. Customized aroma patches and textured inner pockets provide another layer of aid, giving autistic children relieve in stress situations. The design of the Beagle Scarf is in from of a hooded scarf shaped like beagle ears. Worn either like a scarf wrapped around the neck or zipped up like a sleeves jacket, the scarf looks more like a cool fashion accessory than a medical aid. The beauty on this concept is the ease of how such medical clothing accessory could be actually commercialized. There would be no need for lengthy FDA approval and the involved eTextile technology is available.

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