Opening hours : 9:30 – 4:30 weekdays
In November 2012 a group of professionals and creative thinkers from diverse backgrounds and cultures came together for ten-intensive-day’s in the Wearables Lab to explore the interactions of art, science and technology under the theme Haptic InterFace. The Wearables Lab, an innovative trans-disciplinary laboratory within the Academy of Visual Arts at Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong, is equipped with state of the art technology and facilitated by a team of experts and support staff. The experimental prototypes developed in HIF 2012 will be on show in Australia for the first time for VIVID ideas.
Imagine shoes that enable you to have a physical awareness of another person walking. Sensors on the bottom of the shoes communicate via microcontrollers through smartphones to actuators on the top of another pair of shoes. When one person sits to rest, the other will feel the weight lift. When one runs, the other will feel increased pressure and faster rhythm. People wearing the prototype shoes and strangely sensing each others activity are currently walking around Trier, Germany, and Brisbane, Australia.
A set of wicker hats, reminiscent in shape to elongated Victorian bonnets, take the sound waves from the voice of the wearer and amplify them into kinetic energy in the other’s bonnet. One person experiences the voice of the other visually, through the movement of the brim above her eyes, and aurally through the chattering noise that the movement creates in the bamboo reeds from which the hat is constructed. The hat vibrates causing the brim sticks to chatter, in this way the voice is translated into a kind of whisper. Each hat responds to the other, engaging the wearers in an immersive, interactive, haptic, audio-visual experience.
A wearable pillow that surrounds the head alerts the wearer if he/she begins to snore. Based on a skivvy design around the neck, which holds the sensors in place, an Arduino single-board microcontroller and vibrator are embedded inside a padded sculpted hood, shaped like an egg laid on its side, the fully felted headpiece has the appearance of a surrealist sculpture, and the white felt fabric metaphorically evokes a cloud, an apt reference for dreaming and sleep.
By wearing specially designed white cuffs with ostrich feather plumage highlighted by a diffused pulsating red light, two people can sense each other’s presence even when they are out of visible range. The prototype cuffs read the pulse of one person and send it as vibration to another cuff. The production of many cuffs and their trial with larger groups will
enable interesting exploration of “swarm behavior.”
‘Blinklifier’, (pictured above) a wearable computer that amplifies voluntary and involuntary eyelid movement and powers a visible light array, uses bio-data directly to interact with the computer. Although the head-dress can be consciously controlled, this fashion artifact is designed to avoid conscious interaction and instead directly amplify the body’s expression. Blinklifier doesn’t look like a computer; its electronic components are nearly invisible. Attached to metalized fake eyelashes are lines of skin conductive ink. An Arduino microcontroller translates the eyelashes’ blinking movements into signals to light up the LEDs embedded in the large headdress. Facial expressions are complex but easily recognized and naturally understood. By their amplification through bodily worn devices, something usually overlooked in everyday life can become a rich source of knowledge, or open potential for new ways of communicating our emotions and of understanding others.
HIF participants: Celina Alvarado New York/Madrid; Sabrina Basten; Priscilla Bracks Brisbane Australia; Dean Brough Brisbane Australia; Raune Frankjaer Trier Germany; Dawn-Joy Leong Sydney Australia; Sandra Coelho Portugal; Katia Canepa-Vega Lima Peru; Meiyi Cheung Hong Kong SAR China; Jared Donovan Brisbane Australia; Tricia Flanagan Hong Kong/Australia; Geoph Frey Zurich Switzerland; Hugo Fuks Rio de Janeiro Brazil; Daniel Gilgen Trier Germany; Anne Graham Sydney Australia; Seraphine Gutekunst Hong Kong/ Switzerland; Karyn Henderson Wellington New Zealand; Jonathan James Newcastle Australia; Gavin Sade Brisbane Australia; Elizabeth Shaw Brisbane Australia.