Page last updated at 23:16 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 00:16 UK

Lab cooks up hi-tech fashion firm

By Steven McKenzie
Highlands and Islands reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Fan fitted with solar panels
The antique-style fan fitted with solar panels

A publicly-backed research lab plans to launch a spin-off company specialising in incorporating technology into clothes and accessories.

Distance Lab in Forres, Moray, receives seed funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The company, called Lost Values, would develop ideas such as parasols and fans fitted with solar panels.

Charged by sunlight during the day, the accessories would provide ambient light in rooms at night.

Distance Lab, which is hosting a public open day later, has also set goals to expand staff numbers and strengthen links with business partners this year.

The institute - based in the Horizon Scotland building in Forres' Enterprise Park - is also developing a fighting game called Remote Impact and a toy, SeamuSays, on which parents could record voice messages to their children.

Launched a year and half ago, Distance Lab is emerging as an example of how new technologies are being increasingly used and developed in the Highlands and Islands.

Elena Corchero
Elena Corchero with some of her work, including fan and parasol

Chief executive Stefan Agamanolis and senior research associate Elena Corchero told the BBC Scotland news website the spin-off venture would focus on products mixing technology and fashion.

Ms Corchero, a fine artist trained in textile technologies, has already developed a range called Solar Vintage.

She said: "The parasol and fan are antique accessories and look like something used in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

"Tied into them are renewable energies.

"They have solar panels which could be charged up during a picnic and when people get home the fan could be put on the table and the parasol hanged upside down like a chandelier to produce ambient light."

Ms Corchero said circuitry on the devices were designed to look ornate and her hope was to get more women interested in science and technology.

Meanwhile, Distance Lab also intends to apply for a patent on elements of its life-size fighting game, Remote Impact.

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Distance Lab chief demonstrates the fighting game

Players can punch, kick and throw themselves at a silhouette of an opponent projected on to a mattress.

Competitors could be in the same building or on the other side of the world.

It has been exhibited at events in Florence and London.


SEE ALSO
Inside the Distance Lab
29 May 08 |  Highlands and Islands
'Haute Tech' designer eyes future
02 Apr 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Life-size fighting game showcased
28 Feb 08 |  Highlands and Islands

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