Accessories like wristbands and specs have led the wearable-tech movement, but the BB.Suit is something else altogether. It’s an odd-looking onesie made from a novel fabric custom-woven with microprocessors and a conductive copper yarn, which turn the garment into a GPS–trackable, mobile Wi-Fi transmitter.
“I want to develop [textiles] from scratch,” says creator Borre Akkersdijk, who has also done work for Nike and Louis Vuitton. Akkersdijk used 3-D knitting machines to thread together the disparate materials, creating the first BB.Suit for last year’s South by Southwest Interactive; version 0.2 debuted last fall at Beijing Design Week and includes sensors that detect pollution and clean the air around the wearer.
Akkersdijk isn’t close to being finished. He and his team are testing yarn made of fiberglass for even more hyperconnectivity. He’s also building out an open-source platform, so app and microchip developers can join him in hacking the next generation of wearables. “When you have a software designer at his computer and there is a knitting machine behind him, you get unexpected crossovers,” he says. “That’s what we’re trying to create.”SL