The CRATED Goes Beyond Wearable Tech Into Functional Fashion

The tech+fashion industry are still in the early stages in terms of becoming more stylish but The CRATED’s Maddy Maxey and Mari Kussman are ready to lead the charge.

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Maddy Maxey and Mari Kussman of The CRATED

Brooklyn Fashion+Design Accelerator Research Fellows Maddy Maxey and Mari Kussman of tech design consultancy The CRATED come to us with strong strides in the fashion industry working for such big brands like American icon Tommy Hilfiger and Austrian fashion house Helmut Lang.

Maxey has also worked with non-fashion companies like General Assembly, is a 2013 Thiel Fellow named a “female founder to watch” by Women 2.0. and speaks frequently at events such as TED, AutoDesk University and Yahoo about wearable tech and innovation.

At The  CRATED, the duo co-develop enhanced apparel and wearable technology with both fashion and tech companies.

Maxey says “with a background in fashion and a mind for technology,” is how she is hoping to work in the BF+DA space alongside collaborator Mari Kussman who has over a decade of experience also working in the fashion industry and whose technical expertise runs deep, having tackled everything from physical computing to scent engineering.

Where tech and fashion are still in their early stages in terms of becoming more stylish and able to work seamlesslly with the body, the industry needs more female researchers and developers like Maxey and Kussman in a predominantly male-led industry.

Yet Maxey recently told NPR, that “rather than focusing on marketing more products to only women or only men, there should be more focus on making devices that are ‘easy and comfortable for all of us to use,” with wearables being a bit  tricky, because they’re associated with the body.”Size naturally ties in, aesthetics naturally tie in and of course gender differences ties in,” Maxey says.

While at the BF+DA, the two will be researching the future of the wearables industry with a group of students from Parsons and a focus on Gartners Technology Hype Cycle which looks at emerging technologies and the cycle of “hype” or expectations around them.

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Gartners Technology Hype Cycle

Explaining more on what the Gartner’s Technology actually measures, Maxey says “most effective emerging technologies eventually arrive at a productive midpoint where they are less groundbreaking then expected, but still elevate our society.”

Here will be the point where the two work. We’re excited to see where they will take their research for sure.

In addition to research work for us, the duo just launched a bit on the Bitlab with Littlebits that will help with gesture control.

“The TiltBit is intended to bring more of a human aspect to Littlebits circuits. Through using the TiltBit, anyone can prototype a circuit that triggers outputs based on gestures, involving the body in triggering actions. This means you can attach it to a glove, and turn on a light by tilting your hand. We believe that Littlebits are an amazing tool for prototyping circuits and that by adding in motion and gesture sensors to their library, we can use the body as a UI,” says Maxey.

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TiltBit can be seen here, and needs to be voted into production to succeed, so please vote!

Maxey recently told Look Both Ways for their Changemaker’s series, “I think we’re still in what I would equate to the ‘uncanny valley’ of wearable technology and that the real innovation will lie in smart textiles and the garments themselves. Top tier technology often feels like magic to the user and who doesn’t want more magic in their lives? I’m personally looking forward to researching superhydrophobic textiles as I’m a klutz who’s always spilling on my clothing.”