NazcAlpaca: Fashionable Tech To Combat Work Stress

nazcalpacaThe daily work grind can be stressful, to say the least. With clients and management to please and looming deadlines, office demands can take their toll. You might not be able to control all the factors of the job, but there are environmental cues we can track to combat the stress more efficiently. Designers recently worked with a company in Peru to create high-end, alpaca yarn-based garments and accessories centered around reducing work-related stress through a project called NazcAlpaca.

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With the help of Bear Creek Mining S.A.C. in Peru, Eindhoven University of Technology’s industrial design faculty member Marina Toeters and PhD candidate Martijn ten Bhömer developed the first proof of concept to combine alpaca yarn with innovative wearable technology. The project is helping researchers discover how to combine alpaca’s high quality fibers with technological advancements.

Having a hard time picturing this new wearable tech project? Let’s take a peek at some of the fashionable prototypes so far:

nazcalpacaElectrical components, silver fiber and alpaca yarn come together to become one interactive garment. The brand identity and 3D printed casings give each garment a unique look with the perfect fit of hard and soft materials.

Paired with an app that has adjustable settings, the body-monitoring NazcAlpaca shirt stores data over time to create a training system that’ll help wearers fight stress. It will guide you through the initial body monitoring setup, and even encourages you to stay active.

nazcalpacaBoth the men’s and women’s version of the body-monitoring garment use tiny magnets to connect the hardware, and an adjustable breathing sensor and heart-rate sensor are knitted in the garment.

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nazcalpacaAir quality and temperature can also have an affect on how our bodies process other factors, so they’ve also developed two scarves to measure this environmental data around the wearer at the office. One scarf measures the air quality around the wearer and the ladies’ shawl measures the temperature.

nazcalpacaPhotos by Iztok Klančar courtesy of Marina Toeters and Martijn ten Bhömer

Through her company, Toeters often collaborates with the fashion industry and technicians to conceptualize, design, and research innovative garments and prototype wearables for a better future. Ten Bhömer has also worked on the Vigour project, a body-monitoring cardigan to help dementia patients (and their loved ones).

They recently demonstrated how the project was more than just fashion during Dutch Design Week 2015 in Eindhoven (October 17-25) as part of the Plug In City initiative. While the products haven’t been mass produced yet, the unique prototypes have helped research ways to combine alpaca and wearable electronics for more robust and reliable products in the future.

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What do you think of this wearable tech project?

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