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Wearable Technology

Integrating technology with the arts has the potential of creating a plethora of new art forms that are both fascinating and innovative. Accomplished high-tech companies are utilizing wearable technology to address some issues in our societies. For example, they’ve created fashionable fitbits bangles, and pendants, which are commonly used to monitor physical activities and track fitness. For Kelly Nahwegahbow Marsolias, leveraging wearable technology to create dazzling piece of arts was a daunting move.

Kelly, an Indigenous artist, travelled into the world of science and technology when she met Hanan Anis, a professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Ottawa, and Lethania Martinez, a mentor with the Women Start-up Network (WSN). After ten years in the business of handmade jewellery and crafts, Kelly’s business was in need of some changes. Her major sales channels were arts fairs, and she needed to explore other options in order to increase the sales of her products.

After convincing Kelly to invest in a website and other forms of digital marketing, Lethania developed an initial website, which was an instant success, and gave Kelly the motivation to embrace e-commerce and marketing through social media. As they worked together at the UOttawa Makers Space, Kelly learned how to work with a 3D printer and laser cutter to increase her product output without losing any artisanal touches.

As she spent more time at the Makerspace, she learned about Lilypad, which is powered by Arduino, and is a microcontroller that can be incorporated into textiles and other wearable technology. Kelly and Lethania, worked on integrating these electronic devices into fashion pieces, such as necklaces, purses and dresses, creating beautiful, wearable technology.

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Reference:

Women’s Startup Network. (n.d.) Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://engineering.uottawa.ca/ceed/peer-and-mentorship/women-startup-network

Lilypad Arduino Main Board. (n.d.) Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://store.arduino.cc/usa/lilypad-arduino-main-board

Beadind Drum. (n.d.) Retrieved April 17, 2018 from https://www.thebeadingdrum.com

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