Gryffin T., journalist
The Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago is home to over 100+ technological advances. Showcased in the current Wired to Wear exhibit, you will find revolutionary devices such as the SpiderSense Vest, SignAloud Gloves, and the Iridescence dress. These inventions assist people to communicate and navigate their surroundings. The SpiderSense Vest is revolutionary for people impaired by partial to full blindness. It gives them a chance to “see” again.
The remarkable SpiderSense vest works by having many sensors on its frame, and the ones pointed in the right direction vibrate when in contact with nearby solids. Using its “12 ultrasonic sensors” the vest “sees” all around itself, warning the user of dangers in their path. It isn’t perfect though as the vest still can’t see much below its sensor level. SpiderSense objectively is one of the best inventions in the Wired to Wear exhibit.
Next up are the SignAloud Gloves. Mute people who sign are often not able to talk with people who have normal hearing. The gloves pose a very interesting solution to this problem. People who are unable to speak often use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. Of course, most people don’t know ASL. The gloves bridge that gap. When signing with the gloves, hand movements are read and converted to letters on a computer. Those letters are put into a tts (text-to-speech) application and spoken. In this way, mute people can speak to the hearing.
The last invention was inspired by a hummingbird and is less practical and more on the funny side. With over 200 “quills” tracking and face reading technology the Iridescence dress reacts to your emotions. The quills will not move until after reading a face. Once it has read a face, it displays emotions. For example, if you appear angry looking, it will act erratically and recoil. The dress’ quills also follow you until you move out of sensor range – and does all of this with only one sensor. Out of all of the inventions, this dress is probably the strangest, but could also be very useful to someone with face blindness or difficulty reading emotions.
The Wired to Wear exhibit showcased various inventions that are possibly life-changing. The SignAloud Gloves permit mute people to “speak”. Some helpful inventions have flaws like the SpiderSense Vest but will clearly become widely useful for the visually impaired. And, the Iridescence dress is downright strange and amazing in its own way. These inventions all have their own purpose, changing the world. They accomplish that objective extremely well. The blind won’t have to worry as much about accidental injuries. The mute/deaf won’t have as much trouble communicating with others. Autistic or face blind people will have a better chance to recognize peoples’ emotions around them. Whether for good or not, one thing is for sure, technology will never stop improving.