[Cyborg] BBC News today: Smart clothes offer emotional aid

kristinneidlinger slimavocado at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 19:28:11 UTC 2010


[Full text follows]

Smart clothes could soon be helping their wearers cope with the stresses of
modern life.

The prototype garments monitor physiological states including temperature
and heart rate.

The clothes are connected to a database that analyses the data to work out a
person's emotional state.

Media, including songs, words and images, are then piped to the display and
speakers in the clothes to calm a wearer or offer support.

Created as part of an artistic project called Wearable Absence the clothes
are made from textiles woven with different sorts of wireless sensors. These
can track a wide variety of tell-tale biological markers including
temperature, heart rate, breathing and galvanic skin response.

Data is gathered passively and used to trigger a response from a web-based
database previously created by the wearer. The clothes connect to the web
via a smartphone.

When the wearer is detected as being in a particular emotional state, the
database will send media to the clothes to help try to change a person's

To accomplish this, the clothes are fitted with display made of LEDs and
have speakers built in to the hood. The display can show scrolling text or
simple images and the speakers can replay music, sounds or pre-recorded
messages from friends or family.

Developed by Barbara Layne from Concordia University in Canada and Janis
Jefferies from Goldsmiths College's Digital Studios, the prototype garments
were shown at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held in
Montreal from 28 May - 3 June.

Earlier work by Professor Layne created jackets that knew when their owners
were touching and changed the messages being displayed on the LED displays
sewn into them.

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