I was mesmerized when I came across these beautiful glowing creations by Claudia Nunez Pacheco. They are deep sea creatures thriving on the pulse of their wearer with blinking lights. Claudia’s love of symbolism is as strong as her love of tech.
The concept behind Electronic Chimeras of the Deep Sea resides in the aesthetic symbiosis between the human and the machine. A human host, who nurtures the chimera with physiological energy, receives heightened social visibility in exchange.
The pieces were created for a gala at the University of Sydney to thank the benefactors of various research programs. The intention was to surprise the audience with an integration of art and technology. Some table centerpieces used ceramics and pulse sensors, but Claudia decided upon these mysterious textile pieces worn by models.
The pieces were a big hit and caused lots of chatter among the guests as they witnessed the poufy LED displays. It was equally interesting for Claudia to witness.
When you liberally display something private such as your pulse, people start theorizing about what they see. For instance, a very common observation could be: “Your pulse is running very fast, are you ok?” In that sense, when using these biofeedback devices to display a highly visible outcome, you establish a temporary tie with the audience in a very humorous and also empathic way. You obtain a lot of social visibility, which feels as a strange paradox between awkwardness and pleasure. It’s a totally different kind of sensation that I haven’t experienced in other social situations at all.
This tangle of organza, crocheted chains of yarn, laser cut polypropylene and swirled wire has a lot to do with the inspiration for these pieces. Claudia felt as though she was taking part in a surgical operation as she was sewing one of the creatures together, and that’s how the name Electronic Chimeras came to be. She wanted the different materials to come together in a way that would make them pleasing, as well as convincing. Hardware for the pieces included Arduino Fio, LEDs (including ultraviolet), wire and LiPo batteries. I personally love how each piece has a different point of body contact, because it really builds the story of a symbiotic relationship.
One of the most interesting parts of the project for Claudia was the excitement about wearable tech.
One of the aspects that made me feel more satisfied about the audience’s reaction is how wearable fashion can be a source of fantasy and also a source of conversation. People seemed very interested about the idea of having a piece of art that is also a piece of technology.
Don’t wait for a gala to get your piece of wearable tech. You can make your own sensing craft with our Pulse Sensor. It comes with an ear clip or parts to make a finger strap, so you pick the best way to create an interaction. Team it up with our FLORA, and you can combine programming and stitching to get your project blinking or beeping to your pulse. When you’re done, send us a pic of you with your creation at the doctor’s office. Not only will you have created something more fun than most of their monitors, you’ll probably make their day.
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!
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
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