In 1989, Back to the Future II was released, and the world got a glimpse of the fashion of the future. The most striking thing about the fashions shown in the movie was how much electronics were integrated into nearly everything. There were jet propelled, light up shoes, jackets that adjusted themselves to the wearers preferred fit, and A/V glasses to name a few. In 1989 these “innovations” seemed fantastical and far-fetched, but now in 2017, we are much closer to realizing them.
Not only are some of these fashions becoming a reality, creating them at home or in a classroom is increasingly within our grasp. One company, called Chibitronics offers kits for easy lessons in creating basic, intermediate, and advanced circuits, coding, and electronic infused paper crafts. Fashion designers are now infusing electronics into their designs. Their projects include things like digital eye shadow, slide dresses, and wearable, movable pets.
There are even kits now available that allow users to “sketch” electronics using magnetic electronic pieces, ferrous paper, and conductive pens.
With more emphasis being placed on teaching skills such as coding and how to use electronics, often at the detriment of more traditional arts, it is heartening to see these worlds coming together. Not only do these advances allow teachers to design projects that will work across the curriculum, they also have the potential to engage a wider variety of students.
As these technologies become less expensive, they will become more widely used and will eventually work their ways into our homes and classrooms. Let’s hope that they continue to be as creatively designed as they have been so far.