Created by the folks at New York-based design lab CRATED, the Sync shirt is described by its Makers as “an audio responsive VJ Shirt” that visually connects its wearer to the background music in a club. This visual connection is derived from an LED-embedded patch that is inserted into the front of the shirt, which pulses at varying degrees of intensity depending upon what music is playing.
Inspired by the emergence of visual DJs that use light and sound in their performances at nightclubs throughout New York City, London and Europe, the Sync shirt enables partygoers to become active participants in the light shows instead of just passive watchers.
As Co.Labs notes, though light-up attire is nothing new, the Sync is on the cutting-edge of visual wearable tech because of the underlying technology used to create it. Whereas fashion wearables that have visual elements likelights often have wires running throughout the fabric of the garments, the designers have done away with wires altogether in the shirt thanks to its collaboration with BotFactory.
The Brooklyn-based startup is also the company behind the innovative Squink technology, which allows Makers to create circuit boards from the comforts of their own homes or offices for less than the price of the average iced coffee. It was the same technology that enabled Crated to print uber-thin and flexible circuit boards right on the patch that powers Sync.
Most impressive of all, thanks to Squink, Crated says they prototyped Sync in just 24 hours.
“Sync was a collaboration inspired by BotFactory’s Squink,” Crated CTO Madison Maxey tells Fast Company‘s Michael Grothaus. “We had met the team about a month earlier and were so impressed by the implications for Squink, especially after we had run into come frustrating PCB troubles with an earlier project. We were excited to see BotFactory crowdfunding and decided to propose a collaboration using Squink boards in wearable technology, as they’re exceptionally flexible and really beautiful if properly designed.”
Squink prints conductive ink on specific material, such as photo paper or glass, enabling Makers to create their own functional circuit boards using conductive ink and glue. The all-in-one printer then goes one step further than just producing out the intricate designs that connect all of the electronic components on a circuit board together. Furthermore, it will then actually pick and place those components onto the board, as specified in a design you mockup on a computer. This process takes a matter of minutes and can be completed for a revolutionary low price of around $2. This makes the prototyping process easier and faster than ever before.
“For the wearables space, Squink is great as it prints boards on paper, so projects can be ultra thin,” Maxey adds. “The patch that responds to music on Sync has a battery and microcontroller onboard, meaning the patch itself could be removed, and attached to another garment without any additional wiring. Often wearable tech prototypes have wires running everywhere. We were quite pleased that Squink allowed us to make something that looks clean from phase one.”
The Sync VJ shirt may only be a proof of concept at the moment, but its creators say they’r exploring a consumer-ready version that can be worn to concerts and festivals. Interested? Back in August, Squink had successfully achieved its $100,000 Kickstarter goal, just by the skin of their teeth.