A year ago I wrote about the amazing Environment Dress by María Castellanos and Alberto Valverde. Well, I’m so excited to find the artists’ next version on Artsy. Their first dress focused on sensing the environment, while the new Environment Dress 2.0 moves a step forward by considering the wearer’s mood and offering protection.
The dress uses sensors to detect the unseen environmental factors of daily life—temperature, atmospheric pressure, noise, and dust levels among them—and then warn users of contaminants. The sensors feed the data into an accompanying mobile app that is controlled by the user. One wrong turn onto a crowded urban sidewalk and they can command the dress to close its helmet to guard them from increasing sound levels; tipped off to the presence of carbon monoxide, they can activate a set of spikes.
This dress has big ambitions as it hopes wearers can map their areas according to levels of pollutants as well as their moods. Learning to recognize the effect environment has on well being is a big deal. My question is whether people can be trained to notice triggers for their own mood swings by wearing the dress, with the ultimate goal of being able to make these connections without the dress. That’s an experiment I would be willing to try. Last year when I talked with María, her wish was to make this work open source. I’m hoping she’ll make tutorials available soon so people can create their own environmental data collecting wearables.
You may know that we have a lot of sensors available here in our shop, however, did you know that many of them can be attached using conductive thread? If you want to learn more about the softer way of connecting electronics in clothing, you should definitely check out our learning guide on FLORA Sensors. FLORA is our microcontroller that can be stitched or soldered and it easily connects to many sensors. Learn about the possibilities and start thinking about what you might design to understand your surroundings.
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