IKI project is an interactive garment conceived by wearTRBL, a company born out of the ‘Je suis Charlie’ movement of 2016. The urge and need of being able to react in real-time during this event formed the primary inspiration for the garment. IKI project can display up to 20 images on an ultra-thin black and white e-paper screen, which uses BLE technology to communicate with an accompanying mobile app. The display can run for weeks on a single battery charge. The screen is embedded in a t-shirt or sweatshirt made of a bespoke cotton-blend fabric.
As this product has never been released for the market before, wearTRBL has to employ some of the most advanced fabrication techniques available. First, the display had to be lightweight, flexible, robust and thin enough to be seamlessly embedded in the garment. It is not fastened on the fabric, instead uses layers to secure it. The team made use of insole manufacturing technology to develop a case made of EVA foam which protects the electronic components.
To turn on the display, users only have to touch a switch printed on the fabric. Every part of IKI project is designed to be multifunctional. For example, the magnet which seals the screen helps the device stick to the fabric via metallic yarn knitted in the garment, and also acts as a BLE antenna.
All of this contributes to an ecosystem that wearTRBL hopes to create, one which empowers individuals to instantly share ideas, emotions and slogans easily. Besides displaying any story, users can also share and broadcast content through an accompanying mobile app.