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Hi-Tech Wedding DaysHi-Tech Wedding Days

published November 11th, 2013

In the 21st Century more and more industries are turning to modern technology in order for their businesses to survive. From books that can be read on tablet devices to TV shows and movies that can be streamed directly to your computer. While the dreaded weekly trudge around the supermarket on a Saturday morning has now become a click of a mouse in the comfort of your own home.

So can the wedding industry (that has remained relatively untouched for hundreds of years) really embrace this medium? Could weddings and hi-technology be a match made in Heaven? Just how hi-tech can a wedding become?

In the past year the model Dita von Teese stepped out in the world's first 3D-printed dress and singer Nicole Sherzinger performed in an outfit showing tweets via LED lights threaded into its fabric.

CuteCircuit, the makers of this revolutionary dress don’t intend to stop there. “We have made wedding outfits using conductive silver fabric that create a connection when the marrying couple kiss, triggering a private message on the linings of their garments," says Francesca Rosella.

Meanwhile, Belgian 3D-printing firm i.materialise experimented with headwear when it launched a millinery competition for designers last year. It now offers services for creating bespoke headgear and has added "wedding rings, engagement rings and wedding cake toppers" are available too.

The age old tradition of sending “save the date” cards has also received a technological revamp. Printing firms have started to offer augmented-reality-enhanced products, allowing invitations to come to life.

This process involves recording a one-minute video and sending the MP4 file to the company to incorporate it. Guests can then hold a smartphone or tablet over the card and view a personal message from the bride and groom.

“After a slow start 18 months ago, augmented reality printing is now proving popular thanks to increased smartphone ownership, 4G networks and advertising campaigns," said Chris Hughes, managing director at Stuprint.com.

Of course no hi-tech wedding would be complete without a robot.

In 2010 the wedding of Japanese couple Tomohiro Shibata and Satoko Inoue was conducted by i-Fairy, a £46,000 robot by Kokoro.

Robots may have a long way to go before they threaten to take over the world (as depicted in several works of fiction) but they’ve already started infiltrating wedding services, and 2014 will see the launch of Oscar the WeddingBot.

Oscar is a 2ft (61cm) robot intended to be an officiant, pageboy, usher or speech giver. It uses an Arduino computer as its brain, features a text-to-speech module to talk and a high-definition video camera to see, while the hands were salvaged from a broken Kinderbot toy.

"After I completed my first home-made robot in 2012, my friends Mark and Sarah joked about having him at their wedding," says Minneapolis-based inventor Jon Shmig. "I told them I'd make a custom robot and as the list of features expanded I realised that other people may be interested in his services.”

A prototype was used as a ring bearer at a ceremony in August, and Mr Shmig says he hopes to make the final version available for hire in the US early next year.

Finally, with 50,000 downloads in eight weeks, Brazil's Boyfriend Tracker app has shown many people want to know their partner's movements. The software secretly sends GPS location and SMS updates about a handset's whereabouts.

The question is - when will a GPS chip-enabled wedding ring come to market?

For less suspicious/paranoid but more forgetful nearly-weds, Alaska Jewelry is developing the Remember Ring. The piece of jewellery, which is still at the concept stage, promises to self-heat 24 hours before your anniversary as a reminder. A built-in micro-thermopile would convert the heat from the wearer's hand into electricity to keep its tiny battery charged and its clock running.

"We've received quite a bit of interest," says Alaska's Cleve Oines. "But we probably would not launch a GPS ring as GPS trackers and wedding rings are on opposite sides of the sentiment spectrum."

That’s probably wise. “With this GPS tracker I thee wed” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.


Source: BBC – Image: Metro.co.uk