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Profile: Anouk Wipprecht’s Dynamic Dresses

Her intelligent clothing relies on sensors and smarts to react to its wearer and the environment

3 min read
Profile: Anouk Wipprecht’s Dynamic Dresses
Boors, Beware: Wipprecht in her Spider Dress 2.0, which extends to defend personal space.
Photo: Hep Svadja

The current wave of wearable computing has mostly been about putting electronic smarts into fashion accessories of various forms: fobs,wristbands,gloves, shoes, and glasses. Meanwhile, the actual clothes we wear have been remarkably untouched by the digital revolution. But Anouk Wipprecht is leading the charge among high-tech designers to change that. She is creating clothes that can sense and respond to the person wearing them and the environment surrounding them.

Like most high-end fashion designs, Wipprecht’s projects are more about provoking discussion than trying to create something that can be purchased in a store. She is using her conceptual designs to explore what clothing could be, using increasingly elaborate technologies to push the boundaries of clothing’s traditional dual roles of protection and display. For example, her Spider Dress 2.0 uses a 3-D-printed skeletal bodice equipped with sensors and motorized “limbs.” Invade the wearer’s personal space by standing too close too quickly and the limbs will extend to reestablish a comfort zone.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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