I’m one of those people with EMF sensitivity, especially around the elevator in my condo. So, I was quite amazed to find this dress on Hackaday. It was created by Afroditi Psaraa, an artist in residence on board the Station Messchiff Eleonore in Linz, Austria. That’s right — we are talking about a floating lab! Her project was part of The Soft, the Hard and the Wet, curated by Shu Lea Cheang (one of my fave artists).
Afroditi calls this piece Divergence and it falls under the “soft” part of the exhibit as a soft circuit wearable. Here’s the artist’s description of the piece.
It is inspired by sci-fi aesthetics and real physics and questions the way we perceive our surroundings. In particular, it deals with the question of how to create physicality in order to demonstrate and sense the invisible forces that surround us. For that reason, this project proposes the creation of a wearable Electromagnetic Field detector that provides the human body with the ability to feel and hear the electrically and magnetically charged particles that propagate around us in the form of waves.
The dress utilizes a variety of electronics, with the base being a FLORA microcontroller. The wearer experiences haptic feedback from a small vibration motor in the chest, and sonic feedback from variable tones in the headset. The zipper of the dress provides a low pass filter to cut noise and also adjusts volume. One of the interesting features of this dress is the strips of fabric leading to embroidered coiled copper antennas on the cuffs. They are as beautiful as they are practical.
We live in a world surrounded by EMFs and artists and scientists are already working on visualizations. Making the invisible visible is a great first step in understanding a growing issue. In the spirit of open source, Afroditi has already posted photos, schematic and code of her project on her site, so you can make your own EMF sensing wearable. Where will you place your antennas and how will you create them? Do you want your speakers to be audible for the public, making people wonder about their surroundings? What will you discover in your home and workplace? Start your journey with an intro to our FLORA microcontroller, and you’ll be set for your inquiry. I wish soft circuits had been around when I needed to do a science project!
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