3 May 2018: “In 10 years, what do people wear in Tokyo?” Biotechnology Wearable Cafe ~New Material~

“In 10 years, what do people wear in Tokyo?”. Art Council Tokyo Project held on 3 May 2018, Tokyo Tech. Image © Biotechnology Wearable Cafe 2018

Preface to Biotechnology Café Wearable Café
Today, the way we view life is changing. We have diverse narratives about life, including sustaining life by use of biotechnology, genetic engineering, eternal life, peaceful and natural way of dying, and self and the periphery (inorganic, AL, etc.) In fashion, we don’t merely seek only trend and culture, but rather a profound connection to life as well. We need to develop new fashion that makes working easier and wearables to ensure the safety of the elderly, children and the disabled as well as to save life at the time of disaster.
In addition, numerous reports in the media contain voices that appear to suggest in the form of concrete requests how technology should be handled in coming years.

“It’s too painful to connected too closely.”
“I don’t want to die from overwork. I want to have a different work style.”
“It must be extremely hard to be an elderly care giver as well as to receive such care.”
“I want to see children being happy.”
“I want to eat safe food.”
“I want to live in a society where privacy is respected rather than monitored.”  
Behind these voices seems to lie our unconscious sense of impending crisis of the life. In this project, we will create “biotechnology wearables. Through wearables, we will explore how technology should ensure the safety and growth of the individual. It’s a life liberating technology. To this end, we will first think about social context (background) and explore materials.

Endless possibilities of Materials
(Talk by Professor Takeshi Kutani, Professor of School of Materials and Chemical Technology, Tokyo Tech)
Professor Kikutani is a prominent researcher on fiber. He explained how we view materials in terms of biomimesis, (like something similar to human skin), high efficiency, comfortability, health promotion, renewability. Specifically, he mentioned the following as new fiber materials:

  1. Clothes that have the same structure as human skin (biomimesis, health promotion)
  2. Ultimate black fiber (high efficiency)
  3. Fiber colored without dye (high efficiency)
  4. Artificial hair (high efficiency)
  5. Stab-proof, bullet-proof clothes and their weakness (high efficiency)
  6. Fiber materials utilizing softness and elasticity (comfortability, health promotion)
  7. Fiber with logo woven on the cross-section

These are conceivable fiber materials at the current stage. We discussed what potential they would have in the light of today’s social context(background).

Café starts!!
The café event consisted of 6 teams, Team A~F (6 members in each team, 60% of them were students and 40% were members of society.) 2 rounds

Team A:  Wear it as you feel
<Social context> Tokyoite, who are swayed by trend, the media and information input from the market, may be able to gain autonomy if they resharpen their senses and make and wear what they want to wear in a primitive way. It would be also possible to construct new concept for intellectual property, designer identity, distribution channels, and industry system. It is to be noted that our discussion is based on the assumed medical advancement and population increase as a result of inflex of foreign workers in the next 10 years.
<Material> Morpho butterfly’s biological replication technology, and highly stretchable advanced fiber material for good individual size adjustment
<Final idea> We propose primitive and liberating clothes making using a 3D printer, which makes it possible to wear what one feel like wearing on each day. Size and color can be adjustable to a certain degree by dial on the printer. Designs by professional designers are preinstalled as software and downloadable. It would be interesting if the current condition of the wearer, which he/she is unaware of, could be reflected in the design by using the printer in conjunction with a sensor. Material is inserted into the printer just like ink, and after making clothes, it can be used as ink again.
(Facilitator/reporter: Kayoko Nohara)

Team B: Clothes that could be worn for life
<Social context>Clothing is a boundary between self and world/society, or between the private and the public.
<Material>Biomimetics of morph butterfly and elastic fiber material allowing individual size adjustment
<Final idea>Wearing a piece of cloth that one can transform freely. Size (fitting and compression) can be tailored to one’s taste. Color is also adjustable by coloring biomimetic technology. It can be fitted to the size of a child as he/she grows, which makes it unnecessary to dispose old clothes nor buy new ones. These are sustainable clothes made of a piece of cloth that could be worn for life. Expressing self becomes easier because it can be designed to fit to one’s taste. It also frees people from conforming to the custom in which they try to follow fashion trends and wear what others wear. So far this sort of social norm has been widespread and dictated what people should wear. Social norm and peer pressure of this sort may be broken in a good sense if people from all walks of life start wearing what they like.
(Facilitator/reporter: Izumi Watahiki)

Team C: Wearable RIZAP
<Social context>One interesting idea that came up other than the final idea was to wear makeup by just covering up the face with a transparent cloth. One could finish the make-up process by using this cloth when pressed for time in the morning. This cloth also could be used to hide the parts of your face you don’t want to show, for example for covering up unshaved parts of your face or blocking ultraviolet rays. “Hiding what you don’t want to show” may be linked to Japanese mentality.
<Final idea> This cloth is something like a controlling undergarment which prevents overeating and overnutrition and corrects posture. It also has a feature to monitor activity level. The purpose of this device is for health maintenance and management. Light and elastic material is ideal.
(Facilitator/reporter: Tomomi Wada)

Team D: Safe to wear, safe to put on
<Social context> Some members expressed discomfort they experience on a packed train where they are pressed against strangers but unable to push them back because of their small frames. This led us to think about developing function to create personal space. We also tried to incorporate some social problems into our idea. They included fear of falling victim to crime, health-related concerns such as air pollution, pandemic and overuse of mobile devices in city life. One proposed idea was to have clothes that enable us to share our feeling and emotions with people around us without use of language. For example, at a live concert, audience could express their excitement by the light of the clothes they wear, which is incorporated into the production to create a performer- audience united live concert experience.
<Final idea> We came up with a function that has a structure enabling to take out hoods and cloaks made of transparent and durable material whenever necessary from a choker-shaped device. It also inflates hoods and cloaks. This function helps to have personal space in crowed spaces and protect the wearer in the face of menace by a prowler. Furthermore, because of its transparency, it allows us to enjoy fashion as well as enjoy as an entertainment by making it of shinning material. Some of the other additional functions proposed include built-in solar power generation to charge mobile devices and antimicrobial/disproof processing that provides protection from hay, virus and PM2.5. (Facilitator/reporter: Ayano Nagata)

<Social context>
1. Automation → Something that navigates dwellers moving in public spaces             
2. Sense of isolation → Could connect people who have same interests in the community as SNS do    
3.    Lack of space → Stylish clothes which save storage space
4. Overconcentration of population, congestion  → Secure personal space by wearables
5. Work-related stress → Something that makes stress visible so that others could notice it
<Material> Biomimetic technology materials (materials that look different depending on the reflection of light like the surface of morpho butterfly wings)
<Final idea> One piece all in one jacket that is suitable for summer / winter climate in Japan and versatile to reproduce colors and patterns that match various business scenes. Its smart textile in conjunction with hardware could keep you stay cool in summer and warm in winter. It could change color and pattern freely, so you could respond seamlessly to changes in the scene. Tokyo is a hub for business and fashion where people’s appearance is important. It is an idea that draws on the social background where the clothes for each season are necessary and storage space is limited in small houses.
(Facilitator/reporter: Kengo Arai)

Team F: Stay personal
<Final idea> There was a proposal from students who took up the noise problem that every personal space could be secured by not onlyblocking the sound from outside but also removing all the sounds emitted within the house. As a solution, we thought of wearables based on the concept of creating a personal space that could be insulated. So, we started with the idea of covering the mouth when emitting sound and coving the ears when wishing to block the sound coming from the outside, which led to what we can remove when it is not used.
The hood and the part covering the neck would be made of sound insulation material with a built-in speaker in the part covering the ears and a built-in microphone in the part covering the mouth. This way, it would be possible to establish a personal space anywhere as well as use it in conjunction with a mobile phone using Bluetooth.
(Facilitator/reporter: Shogo Egashira)

[Future tasks]
It is worth noting that an appropriate sense of distance between self and world, and problems concerning personal space surfaced in many team discussions. A good sense of distance is important for human emotions and existence, and for the matter maintenance of life. Although it is easy to focus only on ideas for ​developing devices, I think that our next task would be how to realize it in terms of securing personal space. In modern thought, “not being connected too much” (Masaya Chiba, philosopher) is beginning to be advocated so as not to create a society where individuals are kept under mutual surveillance by being too tied. It is not an overstatement, I feel, to say that this is a social issue that we need to deal with for the protection of our lives.
(Facilitator & reporter: Hiroshi Tsuda)

(Photos © Nohara Lab 2018)


―生命体テクノロジーウェアラブルカフェ ~新素材編~
5月3日 東工大蔵前会館大会議室開催



素材の世界 鞠谷雄士先生(東工大物質理工学院材料系教授)のお話。






【コピー】「一生着られる服」 (Bチーム)



【コピー】”SMART WEAR 2028″(Eチーム バイリンガル組)
【社会的コンテキスト】東京の Social Context を示唆させる写真を参考にしながら、10 年後に東京に住む人が抱えるであろう問題と、その解決策となり得るアイテアの元をポストイットに列挙していった。出て来たポストイットをグルーヒングしたところ、以下のような項目に大きくまとめられた。

  1. 自動化 → 公共空間を移動する生活者をナビゲートする何か?
  2. 孤独感 → SNS のように、街中で同じ趣味を持つ知らない人をつなげられる?
  3. スペースの不足 → 保管場所を節約できるスマートな服?
  4. 人口の一極集中・混雑 → ハーソナルな空間をウェアラブルで確保する?
  5. 仕事によるストレス → ストレスを可視化して他人に気づいてもらえる何か?

1 と 5 についてより深く考えてみた。しかし、1 は必ずしもウェアラブルでなくてもよいと気づき、また 5 についてはストレスを可視化するメリットについて深掘りすることができず、結局一番イメージしやすい 3 を選んだ。対象とする服のアイテムや、服の機能について意見を出し合いながらアイデアをより明確にしていった。
【最終アイデア】1 枚で、日本の夏・冬の気候に適した機能性、および様々なビジネスシーンに合う色・柄を再現する多目的性を備えたオールインワンジャケット。ハードウェアと連携したスマートテキスタイルで夏は涼しく、冬は暖かく着ることができ、また、色や柄を変幻自在に変えられることで、シーンの変化にシームレスに対応できる。東京は人の見た目が重視されるビジネスやファッションの拠点であるが、四季ごとの衣服が必要であり、なおかつ住居が狭いことから保管スペースの余裕がないという社会的背景を汲み取ったアイデアである。

【コピー】”Stay Personal”(Fチーム)
【最終決定アイデア】 騒音問題をとりあげた学生から、外からの音を妨げるだけでなく自分の家から発される音を取り除くことで、あらゆる個人空間が守られるのではないかと提案があった。それをウェアラブルなものに応用するという方向性で議論を進めていくことにした。騒音問題に絞らず、外部からの騒音の影響で困ったことがあるか、逆に騒音を出すようなことをしたことがあるのかという観点から考えてみると以下のことが挙げられた.
フードやネック部分は、遮音素材てもちろんとし耳部にはスピーカーが内蔵、口部にはマイクが内蔵されている。それを通して、どこにいてもパーソナルスペースを確立させる事ができBluetooth を用いた携帯電話との連携も可能と考え、最終提案とした。

カフェのチームの多くで、人と人、自分と世界の適切な距離感、パーソナルスペースの問題が顕在化したのは注目に値します。ほどよい距離感は、人間の感情や存在、ひいては生命の維持にとって大切なのではないか。デバイスのアイデアだけに注意がいきやすいが、それをパーソナルスペース確保に置いていかに実現するか、今後の問題となるように思います。現代思想でも、つながりすぎることによって相互監視社会を実現してしまうことに対して「つながりすぎないこと」(哲学者 千葉雅也)が提唱され始めています。大げさではなく個人の命を守るためにも、現代の非常な社会課題ではないでしょうか。

今回のカフェから言えること、10年後の東京とは? 個人間のパーソナル空間が適切に守られ、たいがいに干渉しすぎず、自分流のインディペンデントなウェアラブルを着て、プリミティブな生命感が細部から出ている人々の都市でしょうか。新しい生命体都市? また、そうした個々人の生命と生活を守り、ウェアラブルを通してひとを成長させるテクノロジーができているなら、それはわたしたちの大きな挑戦となるのでしょう。
(司会・リポート 津田広志)