Soft Switches

Here are some of my soft switches! Still making interesting wearables, but I wanted to post my progress.

Sensor 1. This sensor works but i sewed the pieces too tightly and used too much conductive fabric. Practice round 1.

This is the second sensor. Its cool cause its round. Its for my kegal sensor so it works in the 360 degrees.

Sensor 3: THis time I sewed the piece more loosely and used less conductive material. I attached a coin cell battery and a speaker to play sound, however with the velostat there was too much resistance to power. damn.

Final Version= awesomeness: I used 2 small strips of conductive fabric, and sewed the two pieces very loosely they work perfectly. The sensor spot was for the temples, so I'm going to cut it to size and shape to create a headpiece.

Social Wearable Examples

Social Networking While you Sleep

1. Shoes that generate electricity when you walk.

2. A sleeping cap that transmits your dreams

3. A shirt that serves as a touch-sensitive input device.

NOTE: These aren’t actual products, but concept prototypes by artist Alex Dodge.

Social Wearable Projects

Here are a few interesting projects that use wearable technology to mediate social interactions:

Pong Prom, by Edward Keeble (2009)

In Edward Keeble’s Pong Prom, two users wearing technology-enabled hoodies play a game of Pong by slow-dancing with eachother.  The whimsical and physically intimate ‘entry requirements‘ into the experience (the slow-dance), coupled with the game of LED pong that is simultaneously collaborative and competitive, culminates in a meaningful experience that is socially connective. Pong Prom “creates a framework which allows participants to connect, both physically and virtually, and determine the course and quality of the interaction on their own.”

Pong Prom employs a Lilypad Arduino to control all aspects of the gameplay, using patches of conductive fabric on the shoulders, hips, and cuffs of the hoodies to trigger the game. Data from an accelerometer mounted on the neck of the hoodie is used as a game paddle/ joystick (making it necessary for the user to rock their partner back and forth while playing).

Massage Me
By Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson

In Massage Me, a wearable vest, embedded with touch sensors, is used as a video game interface that is activated by a second user’s massaging hands, turning “video game player’s excess energy into a back massage for an innocent bystander”. Like Pong Prom, Massage Me makes it  necessary for the two users to enter into a more physically intimate  interaction, in order to trigger the experience.

Soft switches are embedded into the back of the vest, and signals from these switches are analyzed to create control signals which are sent to a hacked Playstation controller.

Co-Dependent Gloves
By Fiona Carswell

Co-Dependent Gloves consists of two pairs of winter gloves
embedded with heating elements, which warm up only when
two wearers‘ fingers are interlocked. While modern winter clothing
has made warming during cold weather a very independent activity,
this project evokes a more primal warming strategy — sharing of
body heat.

When wearers interlock their fingers to hold hands, an electronic
soft circuit is completed, activating heat panels within the gloves.
I like the subtle choice of using fingerless gloves for this project,
which necessitates skin contact while performing the interaction.

Ear Sensor

My husband snores and I’m often stuffing ear plugs in my ear to block the sound. I thought it might be fun to attach this sensor to the end an ear plug and an LED light to the other. When the sensor and ear plug are inserted in the inner cavity of my ear, the LED light would go on.

This special ear plug would function in two ways. Firstly, by looking in a mirror, I can tell if the ear plug has made a good seal inside my ear. A weak light means the seal is bad and and strong light means the seal is solid and a good night’s sleep is imminent. Secondly, the light will notify anyone entering the room (like my son) that I am in a deep slumber.

Materials: Velostat, hand-felted wool, thread, conductive fabric.

Another possibility for this sensor design would be to eliminate the commercial ear plug and make the sensor cylindrical like the commercial ear plug since felt is wonderful at muffling sound.

Ear Sensor

Ear Sensor with Ear Plug

Sensing your baby cows…

The Calf.

An unusual spot on the body to pay too much attention to, and that’s probably why it intrigues me.

Anyways, the first sensor I made was too large, and I cut it down before taking photos.

at rest (02.2)

simply pressing on the sensor (00.6)

where it's attached/located: back of the leg, below the knee, on the largest part of the calf muscle

view from the back

at rest (02.7)

knee bent & muscle flexed (00.7)

Social Wearables


8-bit Dynamic Life Shirt

For alllllll the lovers out there.  Proximity sensor shirts display full hearts when within “hugging” distance, and lower with increased distance.

insert appropriate emotional response here.


Constellation Dresses

A group of three separate dresses, that when connected with snaps, combine to create various “constellations” with LEDs.

*note: probably can been seen better in the dark (like most constellations)


North Paw

An anklet to be worn under clothing, to improve internal sense of direction.  Eight vibrating motors spaced around the ankle, and only the motor corresponding with pointing north vibrates.

never be lost in this crazy world of ours again.

Social Bodies

1. Wearable Pet

“Ref” is a wearable pet which is worn on the wrist and helps you become aware of your emotional state by sensing your heartbeat and mirroring your state of excitement through its non-verbal communication. For example, when you are stressed, Ref will raise its head and tail. Then as soon as you relax Ref will curl up its tail and lower its head again. The idea is that by literally objectifying your emotions Ref coaches you regain control instead of being ruled by your emotions.

2. Social Skin Emotional Accessories

Skin+Bone is a necklace that chokes you when your stress levels go up. When the necklace curls around your neck action is required. By pulling the necklace away from you can release the tension in your body and breath deeply in order to calm both yourself and the necklace. The necklace works with a heart rate sensor that is worn on the chest and galvanic skin response sensor that sense your general activeness (active vs. passive) and your level of stress (steady vs. arrhythmic heartbeat).

The first two pieces in the video are prototypes, the third is the final necklace.
3. Pseudo-Morphosis Dress That Paints Itself

Pseudomorphs is a system that let’s dresses paint themselves. Following Intimacy, Dutch haute-tech designerAnouk Wipprecht continues her work on the theme of transformation, this time using the sensual properties of moving liquids. A Pseudomorph dress, when in the making, consists of two parts. The first, a fashionable virginal white dress made of thick felt. The second, an electronic accessory made from repurposed medical equipment, custom designed electronics and a sculpted neck brace. When the two are put together the tubes, which are led to the top of the dress, are filled with an ink which trickles down the dress finding it’s way by pure chance, and so in the process creating a unique piece every time.
Also by Anouk is the amazing Fragillis Collection
The two pieces interact when in proximity to each other.

‘eskimo’ kisses

placement on mask

placement on mask

Felt felt kiss kiss.

I was inspired by an Inuit folktale when I made my mask/performance last semester; so this sensor is ironic even if it isn’t PC.

This simple force sensor is made for the large noses of my felt masks. I am interested in exploring how I (and my audience) can start to communicate with my masks  in unconventional ways. Since my masks most distinguishing feature (blinking eyes aside) are their over-sized noses, I thought that this would be a good place to experiment with contact.

Here is my sensor. I wanted to create as seamless an integration of sensor into mask as possible so I used craft felt as the ‘bread’ of the ‘sandwich’ sensor. The resistance reading that I got ranged from 0 to 16.



all sewed up

SMOKs and Secrets and Sorrys, Oh My!



Things are important to help us remember. Maybe old things can be given a new voice through soft technology?

These SMOKs use thermocromatic ink that fades after the interaction between Other and garment has taken place. The brief description of the project given by xs labs states that SMOKs register visual, physical, and aural memory. Apparently we are not the only ones to be thinking about the aura…

Secret Keeping Gloves

Sometimes socializing is difficult. Maybe we are heartbroken. Or lonely. Or living on the top of a mountain. Being social beings, even the most reserved among us feel the need to reach out; we have secrets we want to share.

Secret Keeper Gloves

The Secret Keeper Gloves are the brainchild of Meg Grant. The wearer tells the secret to the gloves (i.e. into cupped hands) and can hear the secret played back when a fist is made. Maybe there could be a way for two wearers to exchange secrets by shaking hands. Social bodies are interesting but so are anti-social bodies…

Secret Keeper Gloves circuit

What is really interesting about Meg’s work is that she drew her circuits for this project right on her body.

The Apology Helmet

This project of Meg Grant spring-boarded off of the idea that computers help us perform difficult tasks that we do not enjoy doing. Unfortunately, computers leave us hanging when it comes to more challenging tasks that involve communication. The Apology Helmet is worn by the person who wants to apologize. The apology soundbite is activated when the wearer is moving his/her jaw fast enough (there is a chin strap that senses the movement of the jaw). The wearer can choose 4 levels of remorse and has the added benefit of looking ridiculous–an almost foolproof way to ensure his/her apology is accepted!

Apology Helmet


Three socially charged wearables

Intimate Memory Shirt

This garment, created by XS Labs, is designed to store memories of intimate communication with others. For example, if you are wearing the garment and your significant other whispers in your ear, led lights in the garment will be activated. This intimate communication and any other communication, will be stored in the garment for future playback. For more information click here.

The UbER-Badge

This Badge, was designed by the Responsive Environments Group at the MIT media Lab. It has a variety functions that allow multiple users/wearers to communicate with one another; for example, viral message passing, location of individuals, analysis of social networking and formation of affinity groups. This device would work well in a large room where a number of people are gathered for example at a conference. Click here for more information.

Spotty Dress

Another project by XS Labs, these dresses have an irregular pattern of spots printed on them with thermochromic inks. “Physical intimacy makes your spots blend into your skin, it erases your camouflage patterns. You become nude, revealed”. For more information click here.

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