This Dress Clears Personal Space #WearableWednesday

How many times have you been in a crowded area and felt suffocated? Well, no more, thanks to artist Kathleen McDermott. Her Urban Armor #2 allows for some unusual dress  movement. When people get too close, the bottom skirt moves outward, much like an umbrella unfolding.  An Arduino is used to collect data from PIR sensors and then reacts with servos to expand or contract the plastic armature of the dress.

This work is part of the artist’s series of wearable electronics for women, “playful pieces that help women assert control over their personal/public space”. A visit to McDermott’s site shows other pieces, a scarf that detects pollution and protects the wearer’s face, and also a hat that drops a net of infrared LEDs when surveillance cameras are sensed. Although these pieces are playful, they do suggest issues that people surrender to daily. How much of our health is cut short due to pollution? Why do we allow ourselves to be interrogated by cameras constantly? The beauty of making is that technology can help to fight these battles; Arduino can be used as playfully or as seriously as one wants.


Want to get started on your own challenge? Take a look at our PIR Motion Sensor tutorial.  You’ll find fun examples like a Super Mario music playing room greeter in a hacked air freshener. Hmmm, seems like a security theme here — go for it.


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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