Smart Dress 'Swells' When Personal Space Is Invaded

Geo Beats
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Artist Kathleen McDermott has come to the rescue of women who need a bubble of sorts, protecting them from strangers rubbing up against or getting physically too close for comfort. She’s designed a smart garment, specifically a dress, that will expand outwards when it detects someone or something is getting into personal space.

For people who despise having their space invaded, traveling on a crowded subway is the equivalent to torture. Artist Kathleen McDermott has come to the rescue of women who need a bubble of sorts, protecting them from strangers rubbing up against or getting physically too close for comfort.

She’s designed a smart garment, specifically a dress, that will expand outwards when it detects someone or something is invading the wearer’s personal space. The frock is part of a campaign called ‘Urban Armor’.

The goal of the project is to create ‘playful electronic wearables for women which investigate the ways women experience public space.’ Fittingly called ‘The Personal Space Dress’, it’s outfitted with proximity sensors, which detect if a person’s bubble has been invaded.

If so, continuous rotation servo motors are powered on, which causes the hem of the garment to swell thanks to the ingenious use of umbrella legs, allowing more distance to be put in between the wearer and the invader.

McDermott stated “The devices are not actually viable solutions for societal problems. But they are intended to provoke conversations, not only about social issues, but about the future of technology in our everyday lives.”

The dress is not on the market for commercial sale, however the website for the ‘Urban Armor’ project provides step by step instructions on how to assemble your own.

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