Dressed-Up Collaboration

Engineering and art can live on such different planets.

But for two Case Western Reserve students, the mashing of technology with wearable art reinforced the creative power of confluence—and resulted in some pretty cool garments.

photo: Benjamin Horvat "Pulse" (left) and "Luminence" (right)

Last fall, computer engineering senior Ray Krajci teamed with Cleveland Institute of Art students in a CIA competition to design wearable technology, melding art and light.

Krajci's team pulled a Best of Show in an April judging. Their entry included two dresses—"Pulse" and "Luminance"— whose lights are triggered by the wearer's movement.

"We wanted Pulse to be intimidating as well as elegant," says Krajci, whose work ranged from building circuitry to sewing.

The first runner-up award went to "Effulgence." Daoning Zhou, a junior chemical engineering major, says he helped develop a way to change the intensity of the light as the wearer's heartbeat quickened or slowed.

The students relished the experience. "No grades, no rubrics—just the group's vision to bring together many disciplines for a beautiful piece of fashion," says Krajci, who graduated in December and is now a teaching assistant at think[box], the university's invention center. —Shivani Parikh

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