I found lots of ideas concerning how the quick change artists accomplish their amazing routines. Each one, however, has its unexplainable features. The 'velcro on the dress' idea doesn't work; the dress could be successfully removed but where does it go once removed. Some claim that her dresses are like calendars; Dania looks top heavy when she first appears. Her subsequent 'dresses' are attached to her bodice; she pulls the top down creating a skirt. I don't think this works; the time factor prohibits this and how do you explain the man's quick change?
I think the following is the procedure quick change acts follow -- the problems encountered when performing for the president are telling. The show could go on if the 'velco' and 'calendar' methods were used:
Quick Change is actually a fairly large team effort. The Quick Change team is composed of several computer engineers, programmers, tailors, technicians, a chemist, a physicist, and several others. All these people are needed because of the technology and science that enables Quick Change.
The dresses Dania wears are made from special fabric coated with a thin, flexible layer of OLED film. The OLED coated fabric can be instantly changed to any color by electronic signals. OLED technology was chosen because it does not require a backlight and is very energy efficient. Wearing OLED enabled fabric is like wearing a computer screen. A miniature, onboard computer controls the OLED fabric and stores programs for each “virtual dress,” as we call them. The virtual dresses are changed remotely by a technician via radio frequency.
Various techniques are employed to change the shape and style of the dress. The use of electronic muscles is one of the most interesting techniques. Electronic muscles were originally developed for robotics applications. These devices behave similarly to human muscles when stimulated with electronic signals and are used for mechanical actuation. These electronic muscles allow the onboard computer to alter the shape of the dresses. This includes revealing additional fabric (such as ruffles) tucked away inside the dress at precisely the right time. The muscles also provide a means of detaching sections of fabric from the dress.
When Quick Change started using the OLED fabric, there were a few problems that have since been worked out. Poor electrical interconnections between the detachable fabric sections were a major source of embarrassing glitches early on. The detachable sections would occasionally go blank or only partially work during shows. A special, electrically conductive adhesive now used between interconnects solved this issue.
An interesting problem occurred at a show attended by President Bush. Upon taking stage, Dania’s dress refused to respond to the technician’s commands, and the act was not able to continue. It was later determined the Secret Service, as part of their normal security procedure, had unwittingly foiled the show by jamming the frequency used to control the dress.
I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.