Episode #40, April 11, 2023
Dr. Lucy E. Dunne, The Rise of Wearable Technology and Smart Clothing
Fashioncast® listeners, get ready to be schooled as Dr. Lucy Dunne, Professor of Apparel Design and Wearable Technology, University of Minnesota, joins the show for an in-depth discussion about the current state of wearable technology and smart clothing.
In the first part of the interview, you’ll hear the articulate and confident Dr. Dunne as she methodically traces the genesis of wearable technology back to electronic clothing pioneer Diana Dew, a 1960s New York fashion designer. But that’s just the beginning. Dunne, an accomplished author, researcher, and consummate fashion academic, goes in-depth to define wearable technology, smart clothing, and the appropriate textiles most suitable for practical apparel. Moreover, she does a remarkable job explaining the microchip technology integrated into the textile including conductivity, chip materials, and placement within the garment.
Dunne knows her field. She’s more than comfortable opining about what works and what doesn’t. It’s fascinating to gain insight into the most notable practical uses for wearable technology such as athletics, healthcare, the military, and space.
Oddly, everyday fashion is NOT at the top of the wearable technology list. As Dunne explains, technology demands extraordinary research, and few fashion companies can manage the costs. In fact, as NASA plans a lunar space mission for late 2024, the agency will spend nearly $100 million on redesigned high-tech space suits. Regarding NASA, Dr. Dunne was the recipient of NASA’s Silver Achievement Medal in 2013 and remains connected with the Johnson Space Center through annual student visits.
Lastly, as a premier thought leader in wearable technology, surely Dr. Dunne has embraced the technology herself. However, that’s not the case, she remains uncertain about its practicality and accuracy, but you can be confident, she’s working on it! Enjoy!