Monitor Acid Rain With This Dress #WearableWednesday


I’ve got a strong interest in environmental issues and love when wearable tech intersects. Check out this cool clothing I found from a tip from electric_runwayDahea Sun is a textile designer from Korea, and when radiation from Fukushima had everyone around the world scared, she was already thinking of ways people could test the air themselves. Remember that testing equipment is usually cost prohibitive, and in the case of Japan, there was a group of hackers that figured out a cheaper way to make their own open source testing equipment. In a similar way, Dahea wanted something that would be easy for people to access and also sustainable. Here’s her position on her research.

My intention is to have an easy and poetic approach to show the air condition through rainwater visually. I focused on the pH level of rain, which usually varies on a local basis and represents the quality of the air, and tried showing it visually in a textile context, where it will create a range of interactions.

She began testing different fabric swatches with natural dyes and was struck by purple cabbage juice. Cabbages are special in that they contain Anthocyanins, which naturally react based on pH level.  So, depending on the acidity of the rain, the natural dye morphs on the fabric in a predictable way.


With the help of other designers she experimented with different material textures and fashions, all having the characteristic acid changing pigment. She also had the idea to tie in a phone app that would allow garment owners the chance to be scientists and record their dress color, time of day and GPS location.

The aim of my project is to coordinate between fashion and consumers to give them a chance to pay attention to environmental issues as they participate in collecting individual data in interactive ways to communicate the air quality. I hope this project would contribute to raising public awareness of acid rain, pollution and other environmental issues and promoting the environmental consequences of our behaviors as consumers.


Dahea is currently pursuing her PhD in Textiles and I can’t wait to see what catches her interest next. I can tell you that when the end of the year arrives, I will certainly remember this project as one of my top ten. Although this fashion is working through natural pigments and rain, you can invent some creative outfits using a FLORA microcontroller and a sensor for temperature/humidity. Check out our DHTxx Sensors Learning Guide so you can choose the sensor that is best for your project. Wouldn’t it be fun to hear a crazy 8 bit song from your shirt when the humidity rises?


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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