Kenzen wins Judge's Favorite at Google Demo Days

Super proud to see the Kenzen team win in London (we are a Zurich and SF based co) at Google Demo days while I was facilitating a panel at Struktur on the future of Wearables in the Outdoor Industry.

Always a lot of hustle and challenges in changing the face of an industry but so worthwhile!

Highlighting Europe's Best Startups

Over the past five years, Google for Entrepreneurs has brought together a group of top startups from around the world to Silicon Valley to showcase their technology and meet top investors and mentors.

This event will be our first Demo Day outside the U.S., aimed at bringing the best startups from across Europe to London to pitch to investors.

The application period for Demo Day has closed. We'll reach out to all applicants by 29 March with an update about the selected startups.

How This Wearable Smart Patch Analyzes Your Sweat To Monitor Your Body

Jennifer Kite-Powell , Contributor
Image courtesy of Kenzen.

    Professor Wei Gao, a post doctoral fellow at the University of California and recipient of 2016 MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, spoke in February 2017 at Rice University about bioelectronic devices for personalize and precision medicine. His belief is that wearable biosensors and medical nanorobots combine health monitoring and therapy delivery to take us closer to personalized and precision medicine.

    Research firm Tractica says healthcare is expected to be one of the biggest drivers for body sensors citing connected wearable patches as a key driver. Applications of wearable patches are not just for consumers but will fall into sports, enterprise and industrial markets as well. Tractica forecasts that body sensor shipments are expected to increase to 68 million in 2021 from 2.7 million units in 2015.

    Where to start? Sweat. Monitoring sweat as a key biometric is not new. Sweat contains biomarkers like sodium, glucose and proteins that can be collected and measured non-invasively using sensors. Sweat has been used to monitor other conditions like cystic fibrosis, but now sweat can be used to monitor nutritional deficiencies, ion imbalances, elevated glucose levels and inflammation that industrial workers experience. Sweat can even tell a doctor if your medicines are not working properly....

    Forbes Full Article

    Struktur; the creative conference for active, outdoor and urban design!

    I am so excited to be heading to Portland to participate in Struktur again in two weeks, and cannot recommend this conference enough to any designers in the outdoor, active or urban design space.

    And with the topic of Inflection point this year being spot on, the size of the vibrant super connective event doubling all the more reason to come join the fun festive mind bending event. I am moderating a panel "Reframing Wearables" while there are panels on Female Leadership, Biomimicry, Futurecasting and so much more.  I cannot wait!
    (wow and just found my tall last year, I was a bit under the weather but hey, there it is! ;)

    Here is the topic description for 2017!

    Inflection Point

    Futurists describe an inflection point as a moment when the range of possible futures suddenly shifts. As designers, we must prepare ourselves for success within the context of these new possibilities.

    Against the backdrop of disruptions in climate, trade, and manufacturing, new practices of generative design, bio-materials, and automation are moving into focus. Sustainability and ‘Made in America’ stories are shifting from novelty to necessity. As technical and performance gear continue to merge into the mainstream, the active and outdoor industries are well positioned to be a major influencer in what we wear.

    Struktur Event was founded on the idea that a strong design community is vital for innovation and growth. We are committed to fostering a community where design and industry professionals can share ideas, build relationships, and tackle these important topics with integrity and respect.

    Come to Struktur Event 2017 and position yourself for success."

    The U.S. Military selects winners of THE national challenge to redesign chembio Warfighter suits

    The winners of the US government’s “Chembio Suit Proof Challenge” were announced January 12, 2017.  This was an open design challenge and the first of its kind to source ideas for government innovation from all levels of the public and private sector regardless of funding.

    It was an honor to be a judge in this process to source concepts from the public and help select the 12 concepts which will move on to be developed with funding and collaboration from the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical Biological Defense in order to update the chembio suit for the first time in decades. 

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 13, 2017) – The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense has awarded 12 prizes to winners of the s Proof Challenge – a chembio suit design challenge that called on the public to submit designs and ideas for a new suit.  Finalists came from a variety of fields that ranged from students to engineers. A total of $250,000 was awarded to 12 participants/teams.

    “We were excited to use the Proof Challenge to reach out to the general public, beyond our military resources and experts, to source ideas and solutions for innovation,” says LeRoy Garey, the Proof Challenge Product Manager.  “The thinking, attention to detail and fresh ideas were astounding, exceeding what we expected.  This type of public collaboration is something we look forward to tapping into in the future – joining forces with the Americans we serve to help protect this country and our Warfighters.”

    Proof Challenge winners include:

    Challenge Finalists

    Idea Name: Increase Dexterity & Tactility ChemBio Suit
    Team Members: Shana Kaplan, Madeline Haas, Itohan Asemota, Nicole Raab, Angela Villanueva, and Jess Roberts

    Idea Name: JSLIST Rapid Cooling System (RCS) & Integrated Cooling Ensemble
    Team Members: Steven Link, Barret Schlegelmilch, Jonathan Lovett, Eric Hinterman, and Phillip Ebben

    Idea Name:  SPIDER© Suit Grey Matter
    Team Members: Thomas Luginbill, Brandy Johnson, Aaron Brauner, Steve Winters, and Steve Luginbill

    Challenge Semifinalists/Runners-Up

    Idea Name: ChemBio Duck Combat Duck Boot
    Team Members: Michele Putko, Robert Putko, Catherine Putko, and Marie Putko

    Idea Name: A More Fitted Hood
    Team Members: William Gabler, Cassandra Kwon, Minyoung Suh, Marc Mathews, Hilary Smith, Caitlin McCall, and Raquel Weis

    Idea Name: Hybrid Glove Concept
    Team Members: Steve Santaniello

    Semifinalists/Second Runners-Up

    Idea Name: Improved Glove Fit
    Team Member: Roland Bruyns

    Idea Name: Custom Articulated Garments for Optimal Dexterity
    Team Members: Leanne Luce, Ryan Brady, Kevin Galloway, Neil Tagner, and Matthew Borgatti

    Idea Name: AgileWear
    Team Members: Brian Kane, Gen Leonard, Karma Malhas, and Catherine Andreozzi

    Idea Name: Closure Control
    Team Members: Devon Willard, Chelsey Pyne, and Keren Espina

    Challenge Side Prize Winners

    Game Changer: Pulse Electric Textile for ChemBio Protection
    Team Members: Francisco J. Martinez, Howard Eglewstein, and Bettina Pasquantonio

    Influencer: Grey Matter
    Team Members: Thomas Luginbill

    Winners will be showcased on the Proof Challenge Facebook page and will work with JPEO-CBD on the next steps of bringing their suit ideas to reality.

    About the Proof Challenge: The Proof Challenge sourced innovative ideas for solutions to increase mobility, dexterity and tactility, allowing the Warfighter to complete all relevant tasks (including running, climbing, etc.) in a fast and comfortable manner.  Also sourced were ideas for heat management that reduce heat burden and actively cool the Warfighter as various physical tasks are conducted.  For more information on the Proof Challenge, please visit

    Felischa Marye
    213.341.0171, ext. 750

    Business of Fashion Op-Ed | A New Toolkit for Designers

    Really enjoyed this op-ed by friend and collaborator Todd Harple in a recent BoF on the intersection of technology and fashion, from his perspective as Director of pathfinding and innovation strategy at Intel. 

    A dress by Chromat, featuring Intel curie devices | Source: Courtesy

    A dress by Chromat, featuring Intel curie devices | Source: Courtesy

    NEW YORK, United States — It’s New York Fashion Week, and there is a frenzy backstage as models are worked into their dresses and mob the assembled engineers for instructions of how to operate the technology that magically transforms a subtle gesture into a glowing garment suggestive of the bioluminescence of jellyfish. I know there’s not enough time for them to do their work. Almost instinctively, I find the designer and bargain for 20 more minutes.

    While I wonder to myself how I got here, backstage at a runway show, I also know I am witnessing what may be the harbinger of how a fourth industrial revolution is set to change fashion, resulting in a new materiality of computation that will transform a certain slice of fashion designers into the “developers” of a whole new category of clothing. By driving new partnerships in tools, materials and technologies, this revolution has the potential to dramatically reshape how we produce fashion at a scale not seen since the invention of the jacquard loom.

    The jacquard loom, as it happens, inspired the earliest computers. Ever since, textile development and technology have been on an interwoven path — sometimes more loosely knit, but becoming increasingly tighter in the last five years. Around that time, my colleagues and I embarked on a project in our labs to look at “fashion tech,” which at the time was a fringe term. These were pioneers daring to — sometimes literally — weave together technology and clothing to drive new ways of thinking about the “shape” of computation. But as we looked around the fashion industry, it became clear that designers lacked the tools to harness the potential of new technologies...

    here for the full article

    Fast Company "MIT's Next Breakthrough Interface? Temporary Tattoos"

    Super happy to see Cindy Kao of the Media Lab, and our Techstyle wearables group there making huge strides with her awesome work, and in collaboration with our friends at Microsoft too!  Wearables are a small world indeed!  (Fastco Article)

    MIT's Next Breakthrough Interface? Temporary Tattoos

    Inspired by popular gold leaf temporary tattoos, MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research teamed up on a crafty new wearable interface.

    Mark Wilson 08.12.16 7:00 AM

    We’ve seen stick-on circuits capable of putting a phone on your finger, and while they’re certainly incredible to behold, they aren't accessible outside of world-class research labs and production lines.

    But a technology called DuoSkin, by MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research, could enable anyone to create custom, wearable circuits—and apply them as easily as a temporary gold leaf tattoo. And not in 10 or 20 years, but using craft store materials, today. In a new paper being presented at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers next month, the research team details how you can shape circuits using any graphic design software, cut the pattern out of a sandwich of tattoo paper and vinyl, and then coat that vinyl with gold leaf. Not only is gold leaf en vogue, as far as temporary tattoos go; gold leaf also makes the tattoo conductive to electricity, and your touch.


    The result is an impossibly thin temporary tattoo that’s applied to your skin with a wet wash cloth like any other. Once there, it’s capable of adding to your body touch pads, buttons, personal radio IDs, or even glowing LED displays. The DuoSkin tattoo can allow you to swipe and tap around your phone’s music and unlock doors or turnstiles protected by NFC. In one example, a pair of heart tattoos link up, so with the touch a button, you can change the color of the tattoo of your significant other (perhaps to signify if you were in a bad mood in the most passive aggressive way possible).

    Of course, the practical uses of cheap, temporarily wearable technologies seem endless. It’s not hard to imagine the utility of such a tattoo on a patient at the hospital. Your identity could be stuck right to your body thanks to NFC technology. Even something as simple as calling the nurse could be miniaturized from a bulky remote to a thin button on your skin. And given that the team has successfully embedded heat-sensitive pigments, as well as LEDs, these tattoos could be specialized to signal all sorts of issues to health care providers.

    Then again, if the context of health care doesn't sound terribly exciting, there’s always Coachella. Really! Because while that may sound snarky, enabling such a wide swath of use cases is really the point of the whole project.

    "It is our vision that future on-skin electronics will no longer be black-boxed and mystified; but they will converge toward user friendliness, extensibility, and aesthetics of body decorations," the paper concludes, "forming a DuoSkin integrated to an extent it has seemingly disappeared."

    [All Images: courtesy MIT Media Lab]

    Data Driven Apparel in Rio, New Balance

    As is so often the case with innovation, there is a long (long!) research and development process and sometimes and even longer runway to the public reveal, through the entire duration of which designers and researchers in our field cannot discuss their work, with varying levels of secrecy. 

    So I am thrilled to see the Data Driven Training Knit which we developed and designed back in 2013 appear in preparation for the Olympics in Rio.  The tops are a part the New Balance Elite kit, as well as Team Ireland and New Zealand's kit.  Epic NB sprinter Trayvon Bromell wears it here in Rome.

    We spent hundreds of hours planning & designing, researching the elite body, gathering thermal data, aggregating that data points, and translating them into the round for knit production.  It was an intensive process for an elegant simple looking product, but then that is good design, and it was a pleasure to be a part of a great team.

    To visualize New Balance’s unique “data to design” architecture, Aggressive designed a futuristic test lab, where data-driven runners’ foot-strikes drive the creation of the midsoles in real time. Credits Production Co: Aggressive Client: New Balance Agency: Arnold Worldwide Directors: Alex Topaller, Dan Shapiro Producer: Kelvin Craver Creative Director: Alex Mikhaylov CG Supervisor: Max Chelyadnikov Edit: Alex Mikhaylov, Max Chelyadnikov, Dan Shapiro, Adam Thomson Design: Alex Mikhaylov, Andrey Krasavin 2D Animation: Andrey Krasavin, Federico Gonzalez, Dan Shapiro Modelling: E.D.Satan, Evaldas Cesnavicius Texturing: E.D.Satan, Konstantin Zankov Animation: Dmitriy Paukov, Max Chelyadnikov Simulation: Dmitriy Paukov Rendering: Max Chelyadnikov Compositing: Max Chelyadnikov, Dan Shapiro, Storyboard Artist: Rolo Ledesma Production Manager: Dustin Pownall Sound Design: Wesley Slover

    Tangible Media Teams Biological Actuator for Apparel - Biologic

    I was thrilled bye the final product of the multi year Biologic project run by an extraordinarily talented team of graduates, primarily envisioned by Lining Yao, out of Hiroshi's team at the Media Lab. I had the opportunity to see the project throughout because of my role as New Balance liaison, and ideate together with the team, while working on thermal body mapping and cooling explorations as my own team worked towards the research, development and design of "Data to Design" project for the 2016 Rio Olympic uniforms for New Balance. 
    We also had the pleasure of exhibiting Biologic in the Fashion 4wrd show September 15th at the Boston MFA.

    Congrats to the whole team, I look forwards to seeing where the team takes this brilliant biological actuator next!