LEDs Break into Fashion and Wearable Tech

ABC's Modern Family featured LED wedding fashions this season.

Who says we can’t all dress like stars?  The Hollywood kind AND the light up kind in the sky.  While Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and other stars have been dressing with custom-made LED-studded gowns and costumes, designers are finally beginning to integrate wearable LEDs into ready-to-wear fashion.  Anne Eisenberg recently wrote an article in The New York Times about how designers are beginning to offer LEDs integrated into t-shirts, coats, handbags and jewelry.

Using conductive thread, sensors, batteries and small microprocessors, designers are bringing light to their designs.  According to Eisenberg, the German fashion label Moon Berlin recently opened an online shop that sells chiffon dresses and accessories like brooches with white LEDs.  The label plans on selling men’s dinner jackets with LEDs soon.  That’s sure to brighten up a prom like a recent episode of Modern Family where everyone in a wedding was dressed in LED-studded wedding attire.

While they may look cool, the wearable LEDs integrated with tiny computers may bring new functionality to clothing. Eisenberg mentioned that a tech company, Adafruit, is now working on wearable computers based on their Flora platform.  Using a Flora kit, you can make a handbag that includes a special GPS senor linked to an LED display.  This will eliminate the need to take out your cell phone or GPS device for directions.  The company is also offering apps for iPads, iPhones and Android devices that can link up to t-shirts that include LEDs that would glow red for poor air quality and with a Bluetooth connection tweet the information to other joggers.

For Further Reading:

The New York Times, Which Way to the Ball I’ll Ask My Gown, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/business/wearable-electronics-are-making-a-statement-novelties.html

Moon Berlin, http://moon-berlin.com/

Modern Family, http://abc.go.com/shows/modern-family/episode-detail/little-bo-bleep/916288

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About Beth

It seems like LEDs are in everything these days – backlighting everything from your mobile phone, Apple iPad and flat screen HDTV to traffic lights, light bulbs and even the kitchen sink. But, making LEDs is a complex process that begins with the creation of sapphire. Not the pretty blue gemstone, but large commercial crystals that can weigh as much as 400 lbs. Once these large sapphire crystals are grown into boules and cooled, they’re cut into cores, cut further into flat circular wafers, polished and then used to grow LEDs. About 85 percent of HB-LEDs (high brightness) are grown on sapphire. There’s not that much information out there about the process. This blog is meant to shed some light (excuse the pun) on sapphire, LEDs and the industry that is devoted to making our lives just a little brighter. In the months ahead, we’ll tackle some topics that will help you understand a little more about sapphire and LED industry. Here’s a sample of what we’ll cover in the coming months: • Growing sapphire • For a wafer, size matters • Quality - When sapphire wafers go bad • LED light bulbs • Market & myths • Interviews with industry shining stars • Reports from industry events • Current events in perspective Please join us each week to learn more about sapphire and the LED market. We look forward to seeing you.

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