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Northwestern professor featured in Museum of Science and Industry exhibit

‘Wired to Wear’ includes a collection of wearable devices developed by Professor John Rogers
Various iterations of Rogers' UV sensor are among his devices included in the MSI exhibition.

A collection of wearable devices developed by Northwestern University’s John Rogers will be showcased in a new exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago.

Opening Thursday, March 21, “Wired to Wear” is the first-ever exhibition dedicated to the future of wearable technology. More than 100 artifacts will be on display to demonstrate how merging technology can transform clothing into devices that can make us healthier, stronger and smarter. 

Sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, the exhibition runs through May 2020.

“Wearable technology sits at the intersection of design, technology and innovation, and we are proud to bring together compelling examples of how it is changing the world,” said David Mosena, MSI’s president and chief executive officer. “We designed ‘Wired to Wear’ to showcase the possibilities that wearable technology presents for society now and help guests understand how it can create opportunities for them that they could have never imagined.”

John A. Rogers

Several devices from Rogers’ laboratory will be on display, including variations of his sweat analysis patch, skin pH sensor, UV sensor, mechano-acoustic sensor for stroke patients and wireless sensors for monitoring infants in neonatal intensive care.

This is not the first time that Rogers’ work has seen the inside of a museum. New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) included an early version of his sweat analysis patch in its “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” exhibition in 2017. The patch is now in the MoMA’s permanent collection. The patch will visit its third museum in October as a part of “Beyond the Horizon: Design for Different Futures” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In addition to Rogers’ devices, MSI’s “Wired to Wear” will include a Jet Suit that can travel more than 30 miles per hour and ascend to 12,000 feet, a headdress that changes color in response to the wearer’s brainwaves, a suit with embedded airbags that inflate to protect the wearer from injury and much more.

“‘Wired to Wear’ celebrates designers, makers, engineers and artists across titles and ages who are working together in the spirit of creativity and invention,” said Anthony Vitagliano, MSI’s vice president of exhibitions and experiences. “The story we’re telling is as much about the people who have explored this exciting mash-up of technology and our clothing as much as it is about the products themselves.”

Holding appointments in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Feinberg School of Medicine, Rogers is the Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Neurological Surgery. He leads the Center for Bio-integrated Electronics, which is a part of the Simpson Querrey Institute.