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Why Clothing Is The Next Frontier Of Responsive Computing

A Dutch designer believes garments may become our most intimate computing devices.

Talk of an Apple watch has created an intimacy problem for personal technology. “What happens when it jumps outside of the computer screen and becomes part of our body?” says Daan Roosegaarde, who runs the eponymous design studio in the Netherlands. 

Roosegaarde is the creator of the conceptual Intimacy 2.0 dress, the getup that made news in February by initiating a transformation into transparency when the wearer gets hot and bothered. He wants to draw a line in the sand between “interactive” technology—the kind that keeps us glued to screens—and a more passive kind of garment that reflects your state of mind by changing color or shape.

The Intimacy 2.0 dress is activated by proximity and heart rate sensors, respectively, and from their naturally opaque state turn various degrees of transparent when a small electrical current runs through the e-foil.

Usually when garments involve electronics, it’s the beep-boop kind with flashing LEDs and a wired-in 9v battery.

“We’ve always been fascinated with this notion of a second skin, of making things that sort of feel alive,” says Roosegaarde. “One day we decided to actually apply it to fashion, where this notion is already present, but we wanted to move away from the LED, the RGB things.”

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