It looks like a Blue Morpho butterfly landed on this skirt, but it’s actually a fashion tech piece designed by Birce Özkan and Betty Quinn called Enlightenment. As I’ve been following Birce’s work, I can tell you that she is always making lively connections between nature, fashion and the wearer. Here’s how she and Betty describe this project.
Enlightenment is an interactive skirt that physically visualizes the mental state of the wearer. In merging fashion with technology, we aimed to experiment with the garment as a kinetic interface to express the condition of the human body — emotionally and physiologically — in an alternative way.
To gather data on the mental state of the wearer, a Neurosky EEG headset is worn. The data is translated into movement of the butterfly, which is controlled by an Arduino micro with two servos. The slower lethargic beating of wings indicates a racing mind, while a faster energetic beating indicates a calm mind. It’s an interesting choice, because most people think of meditation as a slowing down associated with a lower heart rate. However, I like that the choice was made to indicate the energy level of a person. I know I always feel like I am more focused and able to accomplish more when I have been doing zazen.
There are extra details that I love about this piece, including the feather adorned wings that look so touchable and the leaf layers which appear laser-cut on the skirt. Judging from the size of the butterfly, I’m sure it was difficult to get a smooth flapping effect and this probably took a few versions to get the bugs out. So, Birce and Betty, I would like to congratulate you on some very beautiful work. Hope to see you on more runways around the world, too! For the rest of you, if you are curious about brain waves, you should check out our fun teardown on the Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears also made by Neurosky. What wearable would you like to link with your mind?
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