Wearable Technology: The MeU

Technology is integrating itself into every aspect of our lives. Soon, the very clothes we wear will be both functional and fashionable. An example of this is Italy’s soccer team which has used jerseys which massage the players as they play to increase blood flow and energize their players. At the Toronto Waterfront festival we had the pleasure of meeting Robert Tu, the creative mind behind the MeU LED Platform. Robert showed up sporting a Super Mario themed mushroom pattern on his shirt which would cycle its colours giving off a shimmering effect.

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Robert Tu at the Research Matters tent.

This of course was a design that he had programmed into the MeU platform which he was wearing under his shirt. The device is user friendly and can be programmed by anyone who is familiar with the Arduino microprocessor. The Arduino is a microprocessor which is used for basic input/output related functions and favored by hobbyists. The hardware design and the programming are all open source, meaning that they are available and free to use at his website. The plan is to encourage early adopters to create a variety of programs, such as the Mario mushroom, which can then be shared online.

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Arduino microprocessor attached to a prototyping boards with LED array.

The MeU is currently being tested as an aid to cyclists. With the incorporation of voice recognition software, it will activate indicators on the wearer’s shoulders which will eliminate the need for hand signals. There are other programs being developed with this software, such as being connected with bus schedules and also portable advertisements.

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Robert is a graduate from OCAD and has studied under researcher Kate Hartman. Kate is one of the researchers who contributes to the Research Matters website. The MeU is an example of the connection between university research and modern day technology. It also represents the unusual union between technology and the world of fashion.

Links: Website: www.themeu.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/meuled

Twitter: @the_meu_led

Instagram: @meuleds

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