This ‘wearable’ will protect your personal space in the crowd
Are you sick of being brushed past by strangers on the metro during rush hour? Artist Kathleen McDermott has come up with a new ‘wearable’ solution with her creative Personal Space Dress as part of her Urban Armor art series.
Designed to prevent physical contact from strangers and any “accidental” brushing up against them, this pimped up dress can gently shove such passers away as it “uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect when someone, or something, is too close to it,” McDermott explained on her website. The dress then “uses continuous rotation servo motors to expand the dress and protect your personal space.” Unfolding like an umbrella, the dress automatically retracts when personal space has been restored. Phew!
The Urban Armor project focuses on the way women experience personal space, and includes other designs such as Auto Filter, a scarf that automatically protects the wearer from pollution and Miss-My-Face, a veiled hat that automatically uses infrared lights to protect the wearer’s identity from CCTV footage.
“Urban Armor is an artwork consisting of a series of playful electronic wearables for women which investigate the ways women experience public space,” McDermott said on her video page. “These devices are, for the most part, not actually viable solutions for societal problems. However, they do provoke conversations, not only about social issues, but about the future of technology in our everyday lives.”
Are you interested in making your own Personal Space Dress? McDermott has laid out all of the steps to help anyone protect their personal space. Made from materials including an Arduino Uno microcontroller board, continuous rotation servo motors, battery pack, distance sensors, and other items like an umbrella and empty deodorant containers, the artist does warn that a basic knowledge of Arduino, soldering and hand tools is essential. As well as dress making skills, of course.