With the explosion of wearable tech, the relationship between technology and aesthetics has reached an interesting threshold. It's no longer enough to just produce a fast, functional device. Consumers want the technology they display on their bodies to be as fashionable as the rest of their wardrobe, or else be inconspicuous to everyone but the wearer. Building a bridge between the pretty and the practical is a challenge for many tech companies, but also a huge opportunity to blend together art, design, fashion and engineering prowess like never before. For June, we're exploring the world of technotextiles and technology-enabled materials, hosted at Toronto's very own hub for innovative design, OCAD.
Introducing our esteemed speakers for June:
Marie O’Mahony is a consultant, author, curator and academic. She is Professor of Advanced Fashion + Textiles at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University, Toronto and Visiting Professor at University of the Arts, London. Books include ‘Advanced Textiles for Wellness and Health’, ‘Cyborg – The Man Machine’, ‘TechnoTextiles 2’, ‘TechnoTextiles’ and ‘Sportstech’ all published by Thames and Hudson. Exhibitions curated include ‘Cyborg’ for the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. She is currently curating ‘Sportswear – Dressing to Win!” for DX in Toronto and has written an essay ‘Our Digital Future’ for the forthcoming book to accompany the Barbican exhibition ‘Digital Revolution’ opening in July. Clients include Microsoft, Zaha M. Hadid, Seymour Powell, Ove Arup and Partners, NIKE and Hussein Chalayan. She has also served on the Australian Government’s Textile, Clothing and Footwear Innovation Council (TCFIIC) from 2009-2011.
Marie will explore the relationship between the physical and the digital, from the use of technology in the development of new materials to the importance of haptics for the digital in user engagement. She'll discuss new and emerging materials and technologies, as well as examples of work by leading innovators such as Iris van Herpen, Ripcurl and graduates of the Digital Futures MA at OCADU.
Follow on Twitter @the_meu_led
Robert Tu is the founder and CEO of RTD, a wearable tech company that is developing MeU, a wearable LED display for consumers. Robert started off his career as an electrical engineer after obtaining his Bachelor of Applied Science in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo. He worked in the manufacturing field for a number of years before transitioning into information technology sales at IBM. After working at IBM for nearly five years he decided to pursue his passion in design and went back to school to OCAD University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Design in 2013 and has since founded RTD.
Robert will tell the story of how he started RTD and the development of MeU as the company prepares for a crowd funding campaign in the fall. In particular he’ll talk about some of the challenges in starting a company from scratch and getting to market. He’ll also talk about how MeU fits into the wearable tech industry as it is today and where he thinks wearable tech is heading in the future.
Special thanks to our venue sponsor OCAD
SYPA (Stuff You'll Probably Ask):
You: What time do the presentations start?
Us: Doors open at 6:30pm and we begin the talks at 7:00pm.
Before and after the talks, there are opportunities for conversations, and the enjoyment of refreshments and hors d'oeuvres.
You: Hors d'oeuvres, you say? Is there dinner?
Us: We always organize food and beverages for everyone, be it sandwiches or hot appetizers. Come hungry.
You: Why the $10 fee?
Us: All monies collected go directly to bringing you a top tier experience with notable speakers each month. Some months we get help with sponsorship and others months we do not, so the small fee balances out over the year and ensures that the events can continue to grow. Food and refreshments are provided each month and vary based on the venue. Your $10 directly goes towards covering the costs of food, drinks, thank you gifts for our speakers, hosting of our web spaces and other costs incurred to run events. We are a non-profit group run by volunteer organizers and we do not make money through this group.