Technology Meets Fashion in UA Collaboration

Laura Rubisch works on a program that warps the image that comes out of a projector in order to project onto multiple 3D surfaces, like how Disney World recently started projecting on the Castle at the fireworks show.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — An unlikely collaboration between two University of Alabama colleges has resulted in an innovative, yet fashionable, way of displaying student work.

The SHOE PRO-JECT started with one goal – expanding the College of Engineering’s 3D Projection Lab’s scope by providing its students with a remarkable “screen” on which they could showcase their departments’ skills, said Genna Jones, events coordinator for the College of Human Environmental Sciences.

Brian Taylor, instructor in CHES’s department of clothing, textiles and interior design, suggested building a giant shoe as a 3D projection screen, while Jones had the idea to build the entire shoe out of shoe boxes.

“CHES brought to the table the problem-solving resources and creativity needed to build a highly complex and sophisticated canvas on which to highlight the technical and logic skills of engineering,” Jones said.

More than 100 donated shoe boxes were used to create the high-heeled shoe.

Projection mapping uses a program that warps the image that comes from a projector in order to display onto multiple 3D surfaces.

For instance, the program could be used to make every side of a cube a screen to project on, like how Disney World recently started projecting on the Castle at the fireworks show, said 21-year-old Laura Rubisch, a junior from Weaverville, North Carolina, who is double majoring in architectural and civil engineering.

Rubisch has been “mapping” the footage that displayed on the 3D “shoe” screen.

The engineering department had used the software on a trial basis, but the goal is to project onto buildings in order to work on blueprint plans or do presentations for special events. Partnering with CHES allowed the department to test out the software on a smaller scale project and work out the different kinks, Rubisch said.

With more than 100 donated shoe boxes, including several vintage shoe boxes donated by Taylor’s mother, Taylor and Jones began the process of building the high-heeled shoe in December.

The shoe’s supporting structure was made out of boxes donated by University Printing, while the outer shell of the shoe was crafted with the donated shoe boxes. The entire piece is held together with packing tape and hot glue.

The SHOE PRO-JECT had one goal — providing engineering students a creative “screen” on which they could showcase their projection mapping skills.

Since one of CHES’s graduates, Stanley Hu, owns a shoe company, it was decided to top the shoe with two boxes from his company, Liuid, in recognition of his accomplishments, Jones said.

The footage displayed on the shoe was collected during an advanced apparel design course “Senior Shoot.” In this course, senior apparel design students design and create a cohesive collection for their target market. Those collections are photographed for the students’ portfolios.

The students also had their designs filmed in motion to show fabric drape and movement. They discussed on camera their design philosophy and collection inspiration, and a collection of those videos was chosen for the shoe project presentation, Taylor said.

“I’ve loved working on this project because even though I’m an engineer I really have a joy and heart for fashion, so it has been so awesome to be able to fuse my two passions,” Rubisch said.

“It’s been really cool to work with multiple groups on this presentation because every department involved sees different things in the project. The textiles department has an eye for detail and the creativity aspect, while the engineering side is focused more on the technology. It’s been really cool to watch this develop and has given me a large appreciation for both groups who are so different but work so well together.”

Contact

Kim Eaton, UA media relations, 205/348-8325, kkeaton@ur.ua.edu

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.