This dress can read your mind and changes shape accordingly
It's like wearing your neurons on your sleeve.
Leslie KatzFormer Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
If you'd rather keep what's going on in your brain right there inside your head, Dutch "fashiontech" designer Anouk Wipprecht's latest creation isn't for you. It's a dress that moves and lights up according to your brainwaves. Feeling calm? The garment lights up a slow, soothing purple. Stressed out? The lights flicker, and little motor-driven components jutting out from the futuristic frock like animatronic wings flap more frantically.
The 3D-printed robotic dress, called the Pangolin dress, requires wearing a custom head-hugging brain computer interface that incorporates 1,204 tiny electroencephalography sensors resembling scales covering a pangolin's skin.
The cap, which looks like something an android would wear in a sci-fi film, translates the brain's electrical signals to 64 actuators that control little "scales" on the dress that move up and down and light up according to the state of the model. The wearer therefore partners with the dress, which behaves differently depending on whose neurons are guiding it.
"As each of the BCI inputs is connected to each one of the actuators, this gives a very individual animation of the dress," says Wipprecht, who sees the Pangolin dress as a novel way to visualize the complexities of the brain. Her past creations have included a robotic dress equipped with proximity sensors so the garment can defend your personal space if others get too close and a Faraday cage dress that takes a million volts of electricity.
The Pangolin dress will walk the runway during the annual Ars Electronica festival for arts, technology and society in Linz, Austria, this week. Because COVID-19 safety precautions limit the number of people who can gather in public, this year's event will take place simultaneously at 120 locations around the world. You can also watch the event online.