Interactive dress

group members

Ziyi Wang

Anran Zhou


Prototype Description

an interactive dress that generates different led patterns when users touch different part of their body.


Circuit Layout or Circuit Schematic



Circuit for pressure sensitive textile and rgb leds. We hope to generate different colours for our four RGB leds, so we are using two Arduino Uno to control four RGB leds since each RGB led needs three pwm pins and there are only six pwm pins on each Arduino. We also use a voltage-divided circuit for the pressure sensitive textile to detect the value.




Besides, we also use one lilypad main board (which work exactly the same as Arduino Uno) to control those fading leds, which also help to lighten the burden on  our dress. Each led has one pin connected to PWM pins, and the other one is connected to GND. They are fading in different frequency just like breathing by themselves and do not need  interaction with people.


Code uploaded to GitHub


Code for sensors(pressure sensitive textile) and RGB leds

Code for fading leds

Supporting Visuals

_mg_3826   wechatimg9




Process journal

The plan


design sketch for the dress


Later on, we decided on the topic of interactive dress. We got the inspiration from fancy and weird looking designers dress that celebrities wearing during special occasions. We want to make something that is pretty and wearable, with special effects that technology can bring.

We decided to add light and interactions on the dress.

Ideally, the dress can be actually worn, and leds will glow on it.



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Material used

  • two arduinos
  • one lilypad
  • wires
  • alligator clips
  • pressure sensing material
  • resistors
  • leds
  • rgb leds
  • paper
  • Adhesives (glue, glue gun, epoxy glue)
  • Copper tape, transparent tape, pliers, rulers, other tools 

Material decisions

Constructing materials

We decided to form the dress with white paper. Because it can create a clean and neaty effect, which really speaks to our concept. Also, the folded paper have some hardness, which is best use to form the shape, and can also cover up all the wires and sensing materials. We did think about other materials like tin foil, metallic paper, plastic bottles, or newspaper, but nothing works as well as white paper.


At first we only have two arduinos, one for the faded effects, and the other one for sensing and interactions. But since we are adding more rgb leds, we found that there were no enough room for the legs. So we added a lilypad to control the fading effects, and each arduino connects with two pressure sensing effect.


We planned multiple sensors at the beginning, such as the distance sensors and motion sensors. But we figured that if there are too much sensors in there, the interactions might get really messy and confusing. Also the wiring might brings many problems. So we decide on the pressure sensitive textile, that can turn the textures into push buttons.


Challenge encountered

When we just start the project, we were using capacitive sensors. Because the sensor has multiple legs, it allows the led to change a lot of colors, which can be really interesting. But as we tried it out, we figured that is not really possible to do.

Because of the functions inside the sensors, it is really easy to be active by human body. Even if the legs are all covered up. And our thing is a dress, which would be worn, so there is no way to still let the whole thing work.

Meanwhile, each value detected from the the pressure sensitive textile is slightly different because of the size of each piece and the way we assembled it, so we have to test the value separately and observe the value range in order to control the output more accurately.


Rough work forming the dress


forming the structure



details of the dress



finishing the form


We started creating the form of the dress first, started with the most inside layer, then added the topping stuff on.



processing work wiring





wiring and testing


Process work of the circuit


prototype circuit of fading leds on



adding switch



Lilypad attached on the dress.

lilypad main board



Leds assembled on the inner layer.



testing materials


Project Context & Bibliography

In the last century, technology has dramatically developed and changed. A new field of technology has emerged: the wearable computing. It transformed from the conventional form: staying in the pocket or being carried in our tote, to a more body-centric technology. Nowadays, the wearable computing is also increasingly integrated with fashion design and art project. According to Susan Elizabeth Ryan, the reason why wearable technology and fashion are bound up together is that the notion of fashion is bound up with the advent of modernism, and modernism itself is also a cultural condition revolved with the technological advancement manifested in terms of industrial production, mass marketing, and urbanized society, thus fashion, modernism, and technology are inevitably bound up together.


According to New York Times, in 1883, the concept of wearable electronic art has already emerged: the illuminated ballet-girls, a troupe of ballet dancers wear electric lights on their foreheads and attach batteries on their clothing. In 1968, Diana Dew’s electronic fashion in the “Body Covering” exhibition held at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in New York city is the representation of wearable electronic art at the very early stage. Besides, one of the most important participants and contributor, MIT Wearable Group developed methods for stitching electronic circuits directly into the fabric in 1997, and MIT held the “Smart Clothes Fashion Show” which was a design collaboration between the students and faculty of Creapole Ecole de Creation (Paris) and Prof. Alex Pentland (MIT, Boston), with the goal of envisioning the impending marriage of fashion and wearable computers.


In 2007, Hussein Chalayan, as one of the fashion designers who take steps into integrating the wearable computing technology and fashion design at a very early stage, presented his futuristic fashion design in his ready-to-wear, spring 2017 show: models walked on the stage dressed in long Victorian gown and then her clothes started to twitch and shrink up to her helmet; The clothes break into parts and fall down like petals. His show provides so much engaging futuristic wearable arts and let us know how fashion could look like combined with the wearable computing.


As the group of two, both of us are really interested in wearable computing and find it so fascinating that wearables could change the way people looking at their body and provide designers new ways of thinking. It is also a really exciting field that transforms human body to the interface of a virtual world, just like what we did in our project, touching a part of your body and there is glow lighting up, which just like a new relationship between you and your body is built up. It is a really exciting. Wearables could also enhance people’s feelings, reactions and infuse so much more possibilities to our life, which is even hard to imagine in the past. We are looking forward to more great wearables coming out and having more exploration in this field!



Ryan, Susan Elizabeth. “What Is Wearable Technology Art?” Intelligentagent, Social Fabrics, Intelligentagent,


“ELECTRIC GIRLS.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 26 Apr. 1884,

SwarovskiSparkle. “Hussein Chalayan Spring/Summer 2007.” YouTube, YouTube, 27 June 2011,


TheCreatorsProject. “Flying Dresses And The Future Of Fashion.” YouTube, YouTube, 4 Apr. 2014,


Marriott, Hannah. “Could 2015 Be the Year Wearable Tech Becomes Sexy?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Dec. 2014,


“This Tech Dress Will Make You a Paper Doll #WearableWednesday #Wearabletech #Arduino.” Adafruit Industries – Makers, Hackers, Artists, Designers and Engineers!, 4 Oct. 2016,


Mower, Sarah. “Chalayan Spring 2007 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Show.” Vogue, Vogue, 3 Oct. 2006,



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