Clothes always reflect their wearer’s personality, whether you’re talking about a popped-collar polo or an “I?m With Stupid” shirt, but none do so as literally as these: high-tech garments knit according to the sound of your speech.
Berlin fashion house Trikoton takes audio recordings of customers? voices and transforms them into Scantron-like patterns of dots or perforations that are then transferred onto sweaters, vests, leggings, and scarves. Think of them as Hypercolor, but updated for the digital age. (And waaaaaay less nerdy.)
The technology here is an audio-signal processing program that converts speech into the binary code of a knitting pattern. Then an old mechanical knitting machine — hacked with microcontrollers and small engines to respond directly to computer-generated code — spits out the clothing.
Design that merges fashion and technology is a fast-emerging market, from rapid-prototyped jewelry to dresses that magically change colors around people. Much of it, though — particularly on the clothing side — isn’t meant for consumers; it’s art designed to provoke. Trikoton’s innovation is to make the clothes wearable and more or less affordable. (A sweater costs 169 Euros; leggings 149.) And apparently, the service isn’t limited to the sound of your own voice; at a recent trade show, Trikoton designed clothes based on people’s favorite songs, which extends their reach to an entirely new (if famously unfashionable) segment: music geeks.