Smart clothing, an extension of the human body

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Machina co-founder Linda Franco develops wearable technology that incorporates into clothing and enlarges the list of functions that the human body is capable of performing.

Fashion has always been a vehicle for each of us to develop our own personal style. That is what marketing and strategic design expert Linda Franco believes. This woman has created a new way of wearing clothes by integrating technologies into clothes and designing what she refers to as wearable technology. Franco, who is the CEO and co-founder of Machina, develops smart clothing whose sensors register the body movements of its users, turning their clothes into some sort of extension of the human body.

One of her latest innovations allows linking clothing to virtual reality. She has solved one of the greatest problems of most virtual reality technologies. These bring us to virtual spaces, but their methods separate body and mind, which can result in dizziness and vomits.

Her OBE (Out of Body Experience) jacket includes integrated sensors and turns your body into something like an interface, transporting you fully to a virtual world. With this smart garment, Franco improves people’s interaction with virtual reality and reduces the sense of detachment from the real world.

The world of video games is where it can be more largely applied, since it can be used as a console controller. Franco, who had launched companies to do with multimedia and fashion before, wants to take this technology to new industries other than entertainment. Smart textiles offer endless possibilities: for instance, they can be used in health care to conduct physical therapy, or by pilots to control drones with their own body.

Machina became popular when they launched their MIDI Controller Jacket. This jacket has sensors incorporated as well, and it allows users to create music with their body movements. Fashion has always been a vehicle for each of us to give way to personal expression. This Mexican innovator is convinced that by integrating technology into clothing she is contributing to take fashion one step beyond, so that it becomes a true means of self-expression. Thanks to her design, the jacket was included in the most beautiful wearable tech list created by Wired magazine.

Linda Franco has been chosen by MIT Technology Review in Spanish as one of 2017’s 35 Latin American Innovators under 35, and as she now explains, her company is going through a ramping up phase at the moment. To boost this growth, she is counting on funding from partners such as venture capital firm Rothenberg Ventures; companies specialising in products for big brands, such as Beats by Dr. Dre (Apple); ASTRO Studios (specialised in Virtual Reality); and different lifestyle firms. According to the entrepreneur, this kind of support is crucial to take the textile industry to the next level through wearable technologies, so that it can mainstream a new way of wearing clothes that adapts to each of our personal styles and gives us greater control over the actions of our human body.

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