It is 2030.We have managed to find a way to see more than just 5% of our reality. We have now penetrated the shroud of mystery of dark matter and dark energy that make up around 95% of our reality; and harness it to create transcendental communication. This garment of 2030 allows us to teleport ourselves into each other across time and space to different degrees by mutual consent to create a pure spiritual connection undistorted and untarnished by social constructs. This garment facilitates and supports us to be emotionally naked with each other. Social media has finally become soulful media.
To create a more immersive experience of this highly abstract cosmic subject we have devised 2 wearables which can be worn independently or combined as an integrated experience with the VR film.
Buzzing sculptural universe necklace
Buzzes against your skin to simulate movement through the universe in time to the VR movie events. The circuit is completed using conductive velcro.
Expanding universe jacket
Inflates and deflates against your body to simulate the universe expanding against you, in accordance to the VR movie event
Presented at the V&A E-stitches event, finalist at the New European Media Awards Porto 2016, presented at the Singapore Young Contemporary Artists event 'Dream of Stars' and shown on the catwalk at the Body Hacking Conference, Austin, Texas as well being featured in DigitalTrends.com 2017.
Alienascent : VR Haptic Wearable + VR film - in development
Client - UNIT9
VR Haptic wearable. InnovateUK funded project, part of a UNIT9 team.
Yifei hacked the body to question what it would be like to live in another living being; exploring the Proteus Effect using a combination of immersive technologies. One aspect of this was using Electro Muscle Stimulation to control someone else's body.
The R&D department at UNIT9, believing in Yifei's visionary concept secured an InnovateUK grant to develop it further.
I came on board into a team of neuroscientists, electronic and software engineers, product designer, graphic, UX designers, innovation architects and a producer. All in a lab of an Aladdin's cave of VR equipment and other interactive experiences being produced for other projects.
My remit was as a wearables consultant/product owner of this project. This basically meant I worked on a user centred design concept, meeting with VR gamers and developing designs to make it more wearable/washable (replacing cables with conductive fabrics where appropriate) with a goal of scalability over the whole body as well as commercially as a cost-effective component with its own haptic demo games for integration with other VR hardware.
Being in a such tight-knit team at the lovely UNIT9, we all helped each other where we could through the many trials of developing the prototype and putting it out there for possible investment. We came far within the deadlines and targets of the research grant and even demoed it at some trade shows such as Tech Crunch November 2015 with a great response. However we are still looking for that investment to take it to the next level.
After the grant and my role finished in December 2015, I went travelling for a few months and then just recently freelanced with them to create some more units for cool developers or artists to experiment with.
The whole project opened my eyes to the considerations of the VR world with its challenges and potentials ...from wow this is amazing to is this a barrier to the experience? Where did the real immersion lie ? Was it part placebo with a slight nudge of the senses ? I live in a fantasy world half the time without any hardware so in some ways unnecessary hardware just jars me with reality rather than helping me get on with the virtual but then may be a bit of subtle strategic mis-direction of the senses could catapult me into a believable made up environment.
Burge & Prucha Xpollination
Client - Emilie Cohrt Shoe Designer
Haptic shoe development, multi-component product design, electronics, wearable technology - fabric outer housing electronics for variability of haptic sensation for a virtual 'footsie' concept.
Client - Intelligentsia
Interactive Costume Commission
Music Tech Festival 2014, Worn on BBC Click 2014
It was not going to be a long set, but the audience were targeted techies and also the platform was more to show experimental demonstrations. Intelligentsia were also showcasing an App (not yet released) called Auug which harmonised with the singer during this live performance. So a lot going on.
It was a great showcase for my costume as well.
For this project, I wanted to be more subtle in the use of electronics with the design of the costume dominating over the electronics. I wanted to create something which sort of changed from different angles just like a shadow.
I also wanted to take it to the next level of complexity for me without it being limited by the size of hardware particularly power.
This time in contrast to using sheer draped fabric previously, I used sculptural fabric. Knowing that black fabric does not diffuse very well, I searched for fabric with appropriate reflectiveness to give the vibe of light come from within. At one stage I was talking to a scientist about using bioluminescent bacteria coating the fabric which led me to a reflective waterproof fabric (to stop the agar jelly from seeping through). In the end I didn't use the bacteria but stuck with the fabric.
In terms of electronics, I wanted to use RGB as opposed to one colour LEDS and also for the RGBs to change colours, intensity and rate of lighting in reaction to movement.
I managed to get the help of an electronics engineer Hugh Bois at the last minute, and instead of sewing the conductive thread, I decided as the fabric was more robust, it could handle wires soldered onto the lilypads. Note to self, for RGB lights you need analogue pins so a different arduino controller may have been better. We worked out how to minimise the hardware and also protect the wearer's skin from the wires, particularly as the accelerometers (movement sensors) were placed on the inside of the sleeve under the arm. A lot more logistical restraints this time due to the increased complexity. A great learning curve for me.
Workshop Archintex' 15 : Internet of Soft Things /Smart Textiles Symposium http://arcintex.hb.se/
A light compensating snood to counteract seasonal affected disorder which was cosy and comforting could be worn in a number of different ways. Our final prototype was exhibited in a group show at Antennae in Nottingham.
ArcInTex is a network where Architecture, Interaction Design and Textiles join forces in developing ideas, techniques, methods and programs for new perspectives on design for building, dwelling and living and do so through: joint research projects, joint applications for funding larger projects, exchange programs on the Master and research levels, joint conferences and workshop on emergent topics.
It was all based around mental health and in particular this article : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819153/ J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2013 Nov; 38(6): 388–397. doi: 10.1503/jpn.120181 PMCID: PMC3819153 Dopamine and light: dissecting effects on mood and motivational states in women with subsyndromal seasonal affective disorder Despite evidence that bright light can improve mood, the neurobiology remains poorly understood. Some evidence implicates the catecholamines. In the present study, we measured the effects of transiently decreasing dopamine (DA) synthesis on mood and motivational states in healthy women with mild seasonal mood changes who were tested in either bright or dim light.