Drones make their catwalk debut at Milan Fashion Week

Drones have begun to sneak into our lives in many ways, but until now they have not found their way into fashion. That changed yesterday when luxury fashion house Fendi used a drone to provide fans with coverage of their fall/winter 2014-15 collection.

The collection, which was showcased at Milan Fashion Week, was viewable live from Fendi’s website via two streams: one a professionally shot and cut stream and one a rather shaky, fuzzy feed from the drone.

A partnership between Fendi and Google, the drone stream felt more like a proof-of-concept than an impressive technological showcase, but received a surprisingly positive response from both fans and industry professionals alike.

For avid fashion fans wishing they were actually at the show, it seems that the drone did a better job of conveying the atmosphere than the regular video feed.

Writing in fashion mag Birdee, Chloe Sargeant explained: “The drones flew over models’ and guests’ heads, giving an online audience a birds eye view of each look front and back, as well as the venue, runway and vibe of the entire show.”

But it seems to be more about the concept of drones than the reality of what they produced.

The Guardian quoted Lowe & Partners trend forecaster Zoe Lazarus explaining this phenomenon: “Drones feel edgy and futuristic – they appeal to that vision of a cyborg future. Creatively they are brilliant, because they can be manoeuvred into places where people can’t.

“This is a bit of a coup for Fendi… Live streams have become quite standard now at fashion shows, so this is a way to up the ante and get social media coverage.”

While the video quality wasn’t fantastic, the Fendi show could mark the start of drones being used to cover exclusive events with large public followings.

Concerts and festivals could make use of drones to provide new video coverage options for fans, and drones could even find their way onto sports grounds to provide new camera angles for avid fans.

But as is often the case, this could well become a premium service, particularly in sports such as football where teams are looking to generate as many additional revenue streams as possible.

Whether paid-for or free, drone-generated streams will have to improve considerably if they are to reach a level of mass appeal among fans and consumers. For now, they remain a gimmick to be utilised by companies looking to boost their media coverage.


Image courtesy of Fendi.


Real-life ‘Iron Man’ suits to be mass produced by Panasonic

The dream of being Tony Stark in your own Iron Man suit has moved one step closer after Panasonic has announced its ‘powered suit’ will go into mass production. The suit will give the super-human strength to the wearer as well as being able to move at the speed of a gentle run for between two and three hours per charge.

The test version of the suit was able to lift objects weighing 100kg and run at a speed of 8km/h on a hill with a ten degree gradient. The mass produced version is designed to lift 30kg for long periods of time.

It won’t be long until people on the streets will be walking around with super-human strength as the suit is set to go on sale in 2015. And it might actually be within reach for many; Panasonic plans to sell the suits at the surprisingly affordable price of just 500,000 Yen (£2,900/$4,900).

A system of mass production is being created for this year and the company hopes to make more than 1,000 per year.

The suit is by no means the first that has been developed to allow superhuman strength but it is the first to be mass produced.

Developed by Panasonic subsidiary Activelink, the suit is powered by a larger version of the batteries used in smartphones and computers. The lithium ion battery powers a motor that allows the suit to grip and release.

It is also possible to programme the arms so they can be used for operations involving hammers and digging – with an attachable hammer and a scoop. The wearer of the suit uses grips near their arms to control the movements of the suit.

Panasonic now plans to partner with other major companies to sell the suit and is also considering the possibility of renting it.

The company sees the suits helping in short-term situations such as emergencies and natural disasters. When these type of suits become the norm they may be able to help save lives on a daily basis.

The suit gives a glimpse into the potential for robotics to aid and enhance human abilities; we can see future versions combining biometrics to aid the movement of those who have suffered physical injuries and disabilities.

It is rumoured that Panasonic is also developing a suit that can be worn under a spacesuit or diving gear to aid movement in different environments.


Image courtesy of Panasonic.