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  • 10.15.10

Wanted: Darpa Hoodie Borrows Military Tech for Custom Fit

Software designed to make real, live T-1000 Terminator’s for the military is redeployed on hipster fashion. And we kinda like it.

Wanted: Darpa Hoodie Borrows Military Tech for Custom Fit

SF-based Betabrand and Otherlab have taken software developed with defense-department funds and turned it into a cool little anorak sure to wind up on the backs of all the Mission District hipsters, who, like totally hate America’s military industrial complex, man.

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The DARPA Hoodie is a computer-generated garment built to use as little material as possible. Available on Betabrand’s Web site, it was designed after Jonathan Bachrach and Saul Griffith, of Otherlab, won a grant from DARPA, the defense department’s tech research arm, to come up with algorithms that could convert 3-D objects into 2-D patterns. The original idea was to make programmable matter, ie. real, live Terminator 2s.

Now, it’s being used to make real, live fashion (perhaps a more sinister goal, depending on whom you ask). How the hoodie works: Bachrach and Griffith started by modeling the torso of an average 6-foot-tall male in 3-D. Then they built a jacket form around it, using algorithms to generate a minimum set of panels (12) that became the manufacturers? blueprint. It’s basically a dressmaker’s pattern, but more precise; because the material is mathematically modeled, nothing gets wasted.

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As for the aesthetic, the panels create zips and slashes everywhere that look pretty stylish — for the SF tech-dork set, anyway. Betabrand compares it to “the love child of Spiderman and a stealth fighter.”

Obviously, the software has applications beyond the DARPA Hoodie. As Bachrach tells it: “The tool creates the opportunity for greatly lowering the time of manufacturing and for creating a unique algorithmic design quality. … [T]he automatic panelizer opens up the possibility for custom clothing…”

[Hat-tip to BoingBoing; images courtesy of Betabrand]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.

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