Thursday 8 November 2012

BioMimicry - The future of textiles

When asked about the concept of mimicry the great greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, contemplated the idea as an acquired behaviour;  not natural but learned, in most of the cases. Although the concept has been a topic related lately to the future of textiles and architecture, it is not new at all. Even Pre Raphaelites artists studied mimetism, adopting it as part of their doctrines. So what is new about the theme, you may ask? Well the way technology merges with nature is changing, to create a harmonious environment, based on symbiotic relations between the elements involved.
The main goal of the movement is to create textiles that react to the environment, I am talking about  redefining smart-wear. As I said before this is not a new concept, however the applications of smart-wear have been specifically designed for medical purposes, like the textile that monitor the wearer heart beat. If you follow my blog, you'll know by know that I am a total geek when it comes to topics related to the future of technology and human evolution. So the development of these ideas, obsesses me; today I am exploring the evolution of smart-wear from medical purposes into artistic wearable pieces that serve more than a specific function.

I have been doing my fare share of research, and I got to some exciting conclusions. Without a doubt, the future is being defined as the Hybrid Era. The Information Era is over, the translation of information into digital format has been completed. We now have huge digital data banks, that we can all access thru powerful searching engines; consider it to be a democratisation of information. Think about the display of technology that the Olympics and Paralympics showcased, there isn't a better example to make my point. Also the uprising of tablets and the slow introduction of augmented reality to the fashion industry.

Which brings me to the source of inspiration for this post. If you haven't met Elaine Ng Yan Ling,  then my dear friend are living in the dark ages! She graduated from Central Saint MartinS College of Art, with a distinction, MA in Design for Textiles Future. Elaine’s design principle is based on Biomimicry, focusing on hybrid materialisation of craft and technology. She manages to program shape memory materials that react to light, heat or electricity on a natural way. The end result is the born of the term Techno-Naturology, that resumes in the use of artificial technology to activate and simulate natural reactions. Her work requires tons of scientific research with the ability of an expert craft of a textile developer.

Her discovery challenges preconceived ideas about limitations, since it explores the potential of textiles.  Combining the best of technology and nature, it becomes clear that human imagination knows no boundaries. I am terribly excited to be witnessing it all, because I belong to the generation that grew in a tech-friendly environment; but we still dreamt about the real implications of technology in the future. Technology is advancing at an incredible speed, humanity is experiencing shorter leaps when it comes to breakthrough technology. The future of human evolution will perhaps come hand in hand with technology, but in a way that reconnects both our biologic side with our intellectual side, the one responsible for the creation of technology. Achieving a sustainable lifestyle, one with the environment.

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