The making of MyoLight / by Kelly Hofer

An experiment of truly interactive fashion. A set of pants that show underlying muscle activity. 

That is what I'm creating here for my Artist's Residency at Seeed Studios in China. I'm here along with some 14 fellow designers from Calgary. 

Our main goal is to create wearable tech pieces and then on June 20 we have our fashion show at the Shenzhen Maker Faire

My creation is a set of pants that measure muscle activity using EMG sensors manufactured by Seed Studios. The data is then taken and converted into visual stream and displayed using LED's. 

I arrive on the 3rd of June to HK Airport, and ferried myself to to China Mainland equipped with a 2 year Visa.
My first contact was Momi, she was our guide and helped us through WeChat before we came here with all our tiny questions. I'm so thankful for her help in getting some of our cultural cluelessness out of the way, so we could think about creating the best stuff we could envision. 

It was with her that I got my first tour of Seeed Studios where I'll be working out of. It's like the dream place to work if you're a techy guy like me. They have a full makerspace with all the tools like laser cutters, 3d printers, circuit printers, and all the chips and electronic boards you could need. And of course, they have 150ish talented people in almost every field related to the industry. 

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I spent my first night with Chaos working out the logistics of what I am creating. It has some 58 sensors, and probably just as many circuit boards, and that all has to embedded in the pants. No small feat I have on my hands. The selfie here is us two on the train going to the incredible Electronics district in the heart of Shenzhen. 

The electronics district: This is the most overwhelming shopping experience of my life, by a long shot. The sheer amount of products assaulting my visual cortex was too much. There are thousands of vendors, all selling thousands of unique, tiny, glowing, obscure products, parts, tools, chips, lights, gadgets and just stuff that conducts electricity. If you can name a product, there's a knockoff, and if you can name a problem, there's a solution here. 
It's quite clear to see, why the hub of electronics (arguably for the world) is here is this city. Developing something new is so incredibly easy with these vast amount of resources and people. There is nothing about my project that presents a problem that can't be solved in this here city. Everything is built around getting products made and shipped as quickly as possible. And I love it!!

The below video is a quick walkthrough I did for one of the Electronics Markets, this one here is the SEG Building. 

Seeed Studio also has this fantastically useful map for traversing this maze of shops: 

The prices there are too good to be true. As a canadian, you can get tools here for 1/5 the price that you buy them at home. Yah!

Anyhow, I'm headed back to the market today, to get more from my long list of stuff to get. 
Cheerio.