Doki Doki – an emotive wearable for social interaction during covid and beyond

Doki Doki is a responsive, emotive wearable. It was created during the spring / summer of 2020 as a speculative, modular garment that explores forms of nonverbal communication. In particular cues emerging as a reaction to the changes we are facing to our usual rituals of social interaction during the covid pandemic, when faces and micro-expressions may be obscured by the wearing of protective face masks. The garment investigates how data can be visualised both covertly and/or overtly during social and other encounters to communicate information to observers about the wearer, and their environment. But also how data can be conveyed as ‘secret languages’ or signals.

Doki Doki was exhibited as part of the Design Exhibition of the 2021 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) and its accompanying paper can be downloaded from here.

Doki Doki montage
Doki Doki emotive wearable, switching between time in binary, heart rate and sensing someone approaching in the darkness

The device uses pattern and colour in the form of four RGB LED NeoPixel bars to visualise data from sensors affixed to a bespoke neck corset. Firstly, the garment functions as a three column binary clock, displaying hours, minutes and seconds. Compared to the 12 hour clock face or numerical 12/24 hour displays, binary is a rarely used method of presenting time in a visual format, and thus is indecipherable by many. This reminds us that there are differing approaches we can use for presenting ubiquitous data.

Doki Doki proximity sensing, emotive wearable
Doki Doki showing time in binary as hours, minutes and seconds on the top three LED arrays and heart rate data on the bottom, which is indicated as changing colours to differentiate from time and proximity data

On automatic mode, the LED display periodically switches from visualising the time to amplifying emotive and environmental data. This is in the form of changing heart rate (gleaned from an ear sensor) of the wearer as they respond to social and situational interaction and may be interpreted by the observer as emotive data. When the display is not broadcasting time or heart rate data, it projects spatial data as proximity detection (using an infra red sensor), in relation to the personal space of the wearer. For example, indicating the closeness of someone approaching (in daylight or darkness) and by using LED feedback as a ubiquitous traffic light colour signalling sequence, to warn people if they are getting too near. The wearer can choose, via a button press, between a timed cycling of all data outputs on the display or choosing to display one of the three data outputs singularly. This option may be appropriate when emotive privacy, focus on social distancing or personal boundaries are required.

Doki Doki proximity sensing, emotive wearable
LED arrays in blocks of red light indicating to the observer they are dangerously close for covid social distancing and/or in very close social interaction proximity

In terms of the garment itself, it explores aesthetics, repurposing and sustainability, via a modular plug and play design ethos. The neck collar is made up of four separate boned corset pieces, using traditional corsetry methods and fabrics, which allow for the wearer to tailor the garment to their body for comfort and change its materiality, purpose and aesthetic as required. For example, the corsetry lacing of the garment grants it to be loosened so it may be worn over layers of clothing, or simply by itself. The functionality of the garment can be repurposed, as the sensors and actuators can be swapped and changed, according to the wearer’s bespoke requirements. This is done by the creation of a bespoke plug and play circuit board, and the functionality in the C programming can be easily reprogrammed and updated if the user is familiar with coding.

Using wearables in this way may contribute to the discussion of how and why we might advance the use of covert and overt data on the body to create nonverbal cues and secret languages. Especially, for these devices to be informed by and then react to physiological and environmental situations, and to then aid us in social interaction during the pandemic. But also beyond, as the pandemic requires us to investigate communicating and socialising in different ways it also drives forward the evolution and embodiment of technology. Possibly leading to future acceptance of prominently worn devices on the body where in the past it has been rejected.

Doki Doki proximity sensing, emotive wearable
Doki Doki sensing neck corset front and back views

The next iteration of this project is already underway and includes PCB design and production for streamlining the device’s circuit layout. It also includes an extra mode button. This is necessary as having a single button for all the device’s functionality was not particularly user friendly. The second button will allow differentiation between visualisation modes and data recording. This will be in terms of integrating record and playback functionality, plus for downloading and tracking one’s time-stamped emotive and spatial data. It will allow the analysis of encounters and emotive reactions that can be privately saved for later reflection. Moreover, the use of record and playback allows for the continued ethical discussion around ‘emotive engineering’ where the recording and playback of personal data can be used to influence or change a situation or its outcome.


International Symposium on Wearable Computers, London, Design Exhibition 2019

Algorithmic fashion
Mandlebrot – Algorithmic Fashion Aesthetics

This year’s International Symposium on Wearable Computers was co-located as is now usual with UbiComp 2019 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster, London, opposite Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, and included an opening reception at the glorious Natural History Museum in Kensington.

12th Annual ISWC 2019 Design Exhibition, featuring wearable technology  and e-textiles curated by Oscar Tomico and myself. Held at QEII Centre, Westminster, London
ISWC Design Exhibition Chairs Rain Ashford and Oscar Tomico

I was Chair, with Oscar Tomico of Eindhoven University of Technology, of the 12th annual peer-reviewed ISWC Design Exhibition (DX) and I presented my research on emotive wearables and nonverbal communication at the ISWC/UbiComp workshop, Beyond Individuals: Exploring Social Experience Around Wearables. My presentation included a demonstration of two of my research prototypes for social interaction: the EEG Visualising Pendant and AnemoneStarHeart EEG Pendant.

Testing out my EEG Visualising Pendant + AnemoneStarHeart for exhibiting
Emotive wearables – AnemoneStarHeart and the EEG Visualising Pendant

The ISWC Design Exhibition attracts innovative submissions from practitioners working in the broad field that encompasses wearable technology and e-textiles/fibre art. I have previously exhibited my research prototypes and presented research at six previous ISWCs around the world in Europe, Asia and America. This year I was on the other side of the Design Exhibition experience as Co-Chair and as the event is a huge amount of work, we began planning the DX at the beginning of 2019.  The exhibition itself is comprised of three categories:

12th Annual ISWC 2019 Design Exhibition, featuring wearable technology  and e-textiles curated by Oscar Tomico and myself. Held at QEII Centre, Westminster, London
Underlying Super Hero: A Wearable Therapy & Tech. Garment for Kids and Telesuit: Design and Implementation of An Immersive User-Centric Telepresence Control Suit

Aesthetic Design
The Aesthetic Design category focuses on development or application of technology that emphasizes aesthetics and concept. Aesthetic designs may be focused on contributions such as style, the relationship of a visual product to the Zeitgeist of a society, or conceptual aspects of wearing technology.

Functional Design
This category explores the innovative use of wearable technologies to meet a specific need. Functional designs may be focused on contributions such as the innovative use of technology, ergonomics, or technical implementation.

Fiber Arts
Smart fabrics and interactive textiles are fields that intersect in many instances with wearable technologies. Fiber Arts designers push the boundaries of what is possible using all kinds of machinery and materials. The building blocks on which future wearable innovation is founded.

From an incredible selection of papers and projects submitted in June, reviewers chose sixteen submissions entered by practitioners working across the globe. During the exhibition reception a jury panel awarded prizes for the best rated design in each category. This year’s prizes (below) were crafted by Bruna Goveia, of TU Eindhoven, who created wonderful embroidered awards for us.

ISWC Design Exhibition 2019 Awards - beautifully embroidered by Bruna Goveia

The 2019 category winners were:

Aesthetic Design: Touch Mood: GSR and FITI Enabled Wearable (below) by Yimeng Wei, IAAC, Spain, Luis Fraguada, Datable Studio, Spain and Elizabeth Bigger, Datable Studio, Spain.

Touch Mood: GSR and FITI Enabled Wearable at the ISWC Design Exhibition 2019

Functional Design: AWE Goosebumps: Emotional Prosthesis for Animating Awe through Performative Biofeedback (below) by Kristin Neidlinger, SENSOREE, USA, Lianne Toussaint, Radboud University, NL, Edwin Dertien, University of Twente, NL, Khiet P. Truong, University of Twente, NL Hermie Hermens, University of Twente, NL and Vanessa Evers, University of Twente, NL.


Fibre Arts: Myco-accessories: Sustainable & Biodegradable Wearables (below) by Eldy S. Lazaro, UC Davis, USA and Katia Vega, UC Davis, USA.

12th Annual ISWC 2019 Design Exhibition, featuring wearable technology  and e-textiles curated by Oscar Tomico and myself. Held at QEII Centre, Westminster, London
ChakraSuit, Awareness Jacket and DualSkin

For this year’s Design Exhibition we were keen to explore the notion of “What is wearable technology?” Alongside the exhibited works we ran two discussion forums to discuss wearable technology in the present and future. Our Chair’s statement summed it up in the paragraph below.

Discussions on 'what is wearable technology' organised by Oscar Tomico and myself

“In the past, wearable technologies were seen as part of the realm of computing and electronics engineering. However, in recent years we have witnessed a convergence with functional textiles, digital production, smart materials and bio-materials. The wearables we are presenting at the 12th Annual ISWC Design Exhibition combine one or more of the above areas. For this reason we would like to use the exhibition as the perfect context to have a debate on ‘what is wearable technology today?’”

Discussion on 'what is the future of wearable technology' organised by Oscar Tomico and myself

The discussions were well attended and were packed with passionate and insightful views around perspectives on wearable technology. These sessions were recorded and it is hoped that a paper will be honed from them as a snapshot of current ideas and opinions in 2019, and as a contribution to the community.

A full list of the ISWC Design Exhibition exhibits and links to proceedings can be found on the ISWC 2019 website. Below are some further images of work displayed at the exhibition.

Listening Space: Satellite Ikats
Listening Space: Satellite Ikats
Novel Haptic Experiences: Iterative Design & Development of Remotely-Controllable, Dynamic Compression Garment
Novel Haptic Experiences: Iterative Design & Development of Remotely-Controllable, Dynamic Compression Garment

VitaBoot: Footwear with Dynamic Graphical Patterning
VitaBoot: Footwear with Dynamic Graphical Patterning

Digital Fancies: Bioresponsive E-Textiles and 3D Printing in Fashion

In June I took part in Digital Fancies: Bioresponsive E-Textiles and 3D Printing in Fashion, a group show held at Digits2Widgets, London, which highlighted how responsive and emotive input, 3D printing and e-textiles has become intertwined with fashion and design. The exhibition was part of London Tech Week, which was a series of technology events held during 12-16th June 2018.

At the 2-day show I presented AnemoneStarHeart, one of my emotive wearable PhD research prototypes. AnemoneStarHeart is an EEG driven emotive wearable, a device that gathers and processes physiological data, which is then amplified in this case via an LED display, but could as easily be reflected for example as an aural or haptic response. It was developed from feedback gleaned from my PhD user studies and was specifically developed for a group of women who said that they were interested in seeing and visualising their EEG data, but in private instead of public spaces, particularly to illuminate a room as ‘mood lighting’.

Digital Fancies: AnemoneStarHeart EEG Pendant
AnemoneStarHeart EEG Pendant

The device is an iteration of the EEG Visualising Pendant for social situations. The heart-shaped pendant can be for broadcasting data in intimate social situations with friends, partners or family, as an aid for relaxation via meditation, and also for monitoring productivity. The pendant is created as an opaque selective laser sintered (SLS) nylon heart, which reflects user study feedback in which women said that they would like their wearables to be bespoke or personalised in design. The heart acts as an enclosure for the device’s electronics and the opacity of the nylon heart as a diffuser for coloured light emitted from LEDs (light emitting diodes), which react to and visualise the incoming EEG data in real time. The brightness of the NeoPixel LEDs can be increased or dialed down depending on usage requirements, which allows it to be used as mood lighting for a room or as an oversized pendant.

Digital Fancies opening party

Other exhibits that explored the areas of emotive/bioresponsive wearables and e-textiles, and 3D printing in fashion/textiles included work by the following artists and designers: Sensoree, Modeclix, Rachel Freire & Melissa Coleman, Mark Beecroft, Bushra Burge, Maartje Dijkstra, Our Own Skin, Irene Posch and Ebru Kurbak.

Digital Fancies: wearing the Sensoree Mood Sweater
Trying the Sensoree Mood Sweater

Digital Fancies: Modeclix
Garments and accessories by Modeclix

Digital Fancies: Bushra Burge
Dark Matter by Bushra Burge

Digital Fancies: e-textile crystallography
Crystallography by Rachel Freire & Melissa Coleman

Digital Fancies: Interlooped by Mark Beecroft
Interlooped by Mark Beecroft

AnemoneStarHeart at ISWC Design Exhibition, 2016, Heidelberg, Germany.

AnemoneStarHeart at ISWC Design Exhibition
AnemoneStarHeart on display at the ISWC 2016 Design Exhibition.

In September 2016 I traveled to Heidelberg, Germany, for the 20th International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC), held at the gorgeous art nouveau Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg. ISWC is the world’s foremost symposium for issues pertaining to on the body and worn wearable technologies and shares a conference venue with Ubicomp, concerned with ubiquitous computing. The symposium attracts attendees from all over the world: from researchers to designers, start-ups and manufacturers, all eager to hear about the latest advances and products, prototypes and related information.
ISWC 2016 at Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg
Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg, venue for ISWC/Ubicomp 2016

2016 is my 5th year of attending ISWC and my 5th year of exhibiting my wearable tech work in its Design Exhibition, which requires the submission of a paper to a jury who select work to appear at the exhibition in the categories of Aesthetic, Functional and Fibre Arts. The exhibition took place in the Sebastian Münster Saal of Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg over 3 days of the symposium.

Setting up Anemonestarheart for ISWC Design Exhibition


This year I exhibited my AnemoneStarHeart EEG pendant, an emotive wearable and multifunctional device. It is an illuminated, 3D printed heart-shaped pendant, that is an iteration of my 2013 EEG Visualising Pendant for social situations. It evolved via input from my focus group and field trial feedback looking at potential wearers of emotive wearables. Its aim is to be used for visualising and displaying EEG data between couples, close friends and family, either worn, held or used to light up a room via its super bright RGB LEDs. It is also a device to aid the wearer’s relaxation or productivity monitoring purposes, for example through meditation. The device maps ‘meditation’ and ‘attention’ data sent from an EEG headset and displays it by illuminating the AnemoneStarHeart pendant accordingly. If you would like to read my ISWC paper on AnemoneStarHeart, it’s available from the ACM Digital Library or please ask for a copy.

AnemoneStarHeart ready for ISWC Design Exhibition

Highlights of the Design Exhibition included: Jorge & Esther’s Programmable Plaid dress, Lucie Hernandez encouraged play through textiles with her Touchplay: Crafting Material Affinities work, Berit Greinke et al’s Interactive Workwear: Smart Maintenance Jacket, and Sally-Sue Lee et al’s Fleurtech: Transformable Smart Dress, which changed in length for changing situations and contexts. Details of all exhibits can be found here. Thanks very much to James Hallam for his tireless work as Design Exhibition chair this year. If you’d like to read my paper on AnemoneStarHeart it’s available from the ACM or ask me for a copy.

Design Exhibition at ISWC

Jorge & Esther’s Programmable Plaid dress.

Before the full conference began I attended two days of workshops. The first was run as a collaboration of MIT Media Lab, Harvard Medical School, Saarland University and Microsoft Research: (UnderWare) Aesthetic, Expressive, and Functional On-Skin Technologies. It  comprised of an exciting day of presentations from researchers and designers from around the world of their amazing wearable technology prototypes to be worn on the skin. There included many questions and discussion on subjects as diverse as ethics to the challenges of retail/production

Marina Toeters at MIT + Microsoft Underware:Aesthetic, Expressive, and Functional On-Skin Technologies workshop

(UnderWare) Aesthetic, Expressive, and Functional On-Skin Technologies workshop, Marina Toeters presenting.

Troy & his diabetic 3D printed shoe

One of Troy Nachtigall’s diabetic shoe prototypes at the Underware workshop.

On day two, I attended Collective Adaptation in Very Large Scale Ubicomp: Towards a Superorganism of Wearables, a fascinating workshop which discussed how connected devices could shape planetary supeorganism networks and looked at questions such as how we program these as a single system to work for us and help us in everyday situations from crowd control to infrastructure and the management of large complex hubs such as transport or hospital management.

Cindy Hsin Lio Kao's amazing DuoSkin tattoos

Cindy Hsin Lio Kao et al’s amazing DuoSkin tattoos.

The conference then spanned the next three days with sessions focusing on topics from fabrics, textiles and skin made smart to haptics, activity recognition and sensing, extended realities, industry and interaction. More details can be found on the ISWC website and papers can be found in the proceedings. The final day keynote was given by Rosalind Picard, whose work with affective computing has been an important and inspirational contribution to my field in physiological data capturing wearables. I was lucky enough to meet her and briefly show her my AnemoneStarHeart pendant.

Honoured to meet Ros Picard at ISWC after her keynote

Meeting Rosalind Picard after her keynote at ISWC.

ISWC/Ubicomp is going to be held in Maui, Hawaii, next year! In order to take part I’m going to need some serious funding, so please send any ideas/opportunities for financing my trip.


Firstly, Happy New Year and best wishes for an amazing 2016! I’ve had a super-busy couple of months since my last post in September about my exciting trip to exhibit my ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress in Japan. I’ve moved house, which has flung me over the opposite side of London, which is going to require tons of work to create a comfy home and nice studio to work in. I have been plotting new emotive wearables pieces, plus investigating how I can develop this work and how it might evolve in the future wearables arena as a business. I’ve also given a couple of talks on my emotive wearable work at dorkbot London and the BBC, which was fun.

EPSRC UK ICT Pioneers finals, 2015
On stage at the UK ICT Pioneers final.

A fab experience for me was to get through the initial stages and to be selected as a finalist for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) UK ICT Pioneers Competition final. As the EPSRC describes it, “UK ICT Pioneers is a unique partnership between EPSRC and key stakeholders, which recognises the most exceptional UK doctoral students in ICT-related topics, who can demonstrate the commercial potential and impact of their research to business”. The competition included judges from EPSRC, Dstl, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Facebook, BCS (The Chartered Institute for IT), Samsung and BT. At the finals held at the QEII Centre in Westminster, London, I was really excited to take examples of my doctoral practice and present my PhD research to four sets of judges at the final, plus invited academics and industry representatives. Although I didn’t win (the competition was exceptionally tough!), I had a great day meeting judges and hanging out with the other fabulous finalists who I’d already met many of at the media training day in October at EPSRC’s HQ in Swindon. During the finals, I was bowled over to hear more details about their amazing their research projects, which I’m sure I’ll hear more about in the future as they evolve and grow.

EPSRC UK ICT Pioneers finals, 2015
My stand at UK ICT Pioneers final.

EPSRC UK ICT Pioneers finals, 2015
All finalists on stage.

ThinkerBelle Fibre Optic EEG Amplifying Dress at ISWC Design Exhibition, Osaka, Japan

I’m just back from an amazing trip to Japan where I exhibited my ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress at the Design Exhibition of the 19th International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC). This event was part of the 2015 ACM joint international conference of ISWC and Ubicomp, which took place this year at Grand Front Osaka, Japan.

ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress
ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress

I exhibited the dress alongside garments, accessories, textiles and devices, in the wearable tech categories of functional, aesthetic and fibre arts. If you’d like to read my paper on the ThinkBelle EEG Dress it is available from ACM or ask me for a copy.

ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress
ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress

ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress in Tokyo!

Many thanks to this year’s Design Exhibition chairs Margarita Benitez and Halley Profita and jury panel: Maggie Orth, Sonny Vu, Tricia Flanagan and Frances Joseph.

Wear & Tear workshop with Thad Starner  at #ISWC15
Thad Starner’s keynote at Wear and Tear workshop.

At ISWC / Ubicomp I participated in two workshops, firstly Wear and Tear: Constructing Wearable Technology for The Real World. This was organised by colleagues at Georgia Tech Wearable Computing Centre and was a really useful and enjoyable day of reportage on building devices and systems. Thad Starner gave the keynote and was followed by various speakers who discussed what went right and what went wrong during the process of building their devices. Everyone shared useful approaches, tips and tricks to fixing issues and developing hardware and devices. A big thank you to the organisers: Peter Presti, Scott Gilliland, Abdelkareem Bedri, Clint Zeagler and Thad Starner, and the speakers, for a brilliant day.

Andy Quitmeyer's portable soldering shorts at ISWC Wear & Tear workshop
Andy Quitmeyer’s soldering station shorts at Wear and Tear workshop.

The second workshop I participated in was Broadening Participation. The event was created to increase the involvement of women, all students from developing countries, as well as underrepresented minorities, including persons with disabilities, in the field of ubiquitous and wearable computing. The day comprised of interesting and motivational talks and panels from those already working in the field of ubiquitous and wearable computing. There was also two poster sessions where participants discussed their research. I presented a poster on my doctoral research on Responsive and Emotive Wearables. I really enjoyed meeting and sharing my research with participants as well as hearing about their research, which was really interesting and there were some great crossover projects and research, which I’m going to follow up. Thanks very much to organisers: A. J. Brush, Miwako Doi, Gillian Hayes, Polly Huang, Judy Kay, Hitomi Tsujita, I.E. Yairi, Naomi Yamashita and Helen Ai He, and the speakers, for a great day.

Broadening Participation Workshop

Attendees of the Broadening Participation Workshop.

ThinkerBelle Fibre Optic EEG Amplifying Dress

ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress//

I’m writing up my PhD thesis at the moment and analysing a huge amount of data from over 70 surveys and 8 hours of focus group audio transcripts. Anyway, without giving away too much about the data, as I’m saving it for my thesis, here’s a little preview of my ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress. I created this dress in response to a subsection of feedback data from my field trials and focus groups, which investigated the functionality, aesthetics and user experience of wearables and in particular wearer and observer feedback on experiences with my EEG Visualising Pendant. The motivation for creating the dress was for engagement in social situations in which the wearer might find themselves in a noisy or crowded area, where it is not possible to hear others and communicate easily – where forms of non-verbal communication may be useful. The dress broadcasts the meditation and attention data of the wearer for observers to make their own interpretations. It is up to the wearer if they want to divulge information regarding the physiological source of the data being visualised.

ThinkerBelle fibre optic EEG dress

A short video of the dress.

A longer video of the dress shot in Tokyo, Japan.

The dress was constructed with a satin fabric and fibre optic filament woven into organza. Using a NeuroSky MindWave Mobile EEG headset signals in the form of two separate streams, ‘attention’ and meditation’, are sent via Bluetooth to the dress, which amplifies and visualises the data via the fibre optic filament. Attention data is shown as red light and meditation signal data as green light. The dress is constructed so the two streams of data light overlap and interweave. The fibre optic filament is repositionable allowing the wearer to make their own lighting arrangements and dress design. The red and green light fades in an out as the levels of attention and meditation data of wearer highten or decline.

The dress’ hardware has a choice of modes, so it is possible to record and playback the data. This makes it possible for the wearer to appear to be concentrating or relaxed if wished to influence a social situation, what I call ’emotive engineering’. Also if the wearer would like to use their EEG data to create a certain mix of colour and light on the dress. It is also possible to set the playback mode and take off the EEG headset if the wearer wants to be headset free. If you’d like to read my ISWC 15 paper on the dress, it’s available from the ACM or ask me for a copy.

ThinkerBelle fibre optic EEG dress
Red = attention / green = meditation

As you can see I’ve included a few initial photos of the dress in action showing the EEG data as it is received from the headset. I have not made a successful video of the dress yet, as it’s difficult to light the dress for photos and filming. I will add a video when I’ve worked around this!

I have also been experimenting with changing the form factor of the headset for aesthetic and comfort, using various materials.

ThinkerBelle fibre optic EEG dress
Feeling relaxed = very green dress!

A bit of extra info, in case you were wondering… During my PhD research, I’ve been investigating the possibility of that wearable technology can be used with physiological data to create new forms of non-verbal communication. Since 2008 I’ve been experimenting with wearables, sensors and social situations, which led me to focus on wearables. These wearables amplify visualise and broadcast data from the body. As mentioned in previous blog posts, the field of wearable technology has blossomed and grown rapidly in recent years into a huge and mainly undefined set of devices, platforms, uses and practice. It was therefore necessary for me (a couple of years ago now) to create my own nomenclature to define the area I was creating and researching in. The first subset area being ‘responsive wearables’, which deals with wearables that respond to various physiological, environmental and other user related data and gives an output. This worked for a short while but still wasn’t definitive. I went on to drill down and make a new subset of this area to find a better definition for the emerging field I was working in, which I named ‘emotive wearables’. This area focuses on the area of wearable technology which deals with the gleaning of physiological data from the body, processes and broadcasts it in some way from the wearer. The output could be sound, movement, light, etc.

ThinkerBelle fibre optic EEG dress

My research with sensors, social situations, ambient and physiological data has led me to work with sound signal input (decibels), temperature (Celsius), pressure (Pascal) and altitude (metres) ECG (Electrocardiography), GSR (Galvanic Skin Response), EMG (Electromyography) and EEG (Electroencephalography), but my main focus for my PhD has been on the development and research of emotive wearables with EEG data.

AnemoneStarHeart EEG / ECG visualising device at Transmission Symposium

AnemoneStarHeart handheld EEG/ECG Visualising Device

At the end of April I spent a very enjoyable day at Bournemouth University attending Transmission Symposium: Strategies for Brainwave Interpretation in the Arts. There were some very interesting presentations, exchanges of ideas and discussion on the intersection between art, cognition and technology. Links to the event, artists and scientists taking part can be found here. Thank you to Oliver Gingrich for inviting me to participate and to all the attendees, especially those who visited my emotive wearable exhibits, asked questions and/or tried a device and filled in a feedback survey.

At Transmission Symposium I debuted my AnemoneStarHeart, which is a pendant which can also be used as handheld or standalone device (smaller version being tweaked!) I have developed for broadcasting, amplifying and visualising EEG and ECG data. I have been developing this device as part of the iteration process of the EEG Visualising Pendant. It brings together technology and elements from my aforementioned EEG Visualising Pendant and Flutter ECG pendant hack.

Watching 'Canal Trip' on BBC4 with AnemoneStarHeart broadcasting / visualising EEG
AnemoneStarHeart being used as an ambient device to observe relaxation whilst watching ‘Canal Trip’ slow TV programme, BBC4, May 15.

It can be used, for example as an aid for meditation, relaxation and concentration, as well as for personal viewing or sharing physiological data in social situations with others. Data is sent to the AnemoneStarHeart via Bluetooth and it is a battery operated, standalone device. It can either be worn as a pendant, viewed in the palm of the hand or placed in a convenient area of a room – illuminating the space with coloured light. Whilst sensors are transmitting data to the device, it constantly visualises it, changing colour and brightness based on the data it receives. The smaller, wearable version hangs from a chain as a necklace or in the style of a pocket watch so it can be brought out, looked at, then put away again. As I am interested in the commercial possibilities of bespoke couture wearables and small editions of emotive devices, at some point I aspire to crowdfund this project.

AnemoneStarHeart lit up with live EEG data

As part of my PhD research, I have spent the best part of a year organising and running focus groups with potential users of emotive wearables and the EEG Visualising Pendant in London and Amsterdam. I have also conducted field trials in various social and work situations across London and Brighton, plus collected feedback from observers of the pendant. Since the beginning of 2015 I have been analysing the resulting data. This is to discover the preferences and feedback of potential wearers of emotive wearables as well as the EEG Visualising Pendant. Out of the resulting data, so far, has evolved the AnemoneStarHeart device, for which I devised a new configuration of electronic components and code. I created a new enclosure for the electronics in 3D modelling package Rhino, with help from skills learned at Francis Bitonti’s computational design workshop. It was selective laser sintered (SLS) in Nylon, in one of D2W’s EOS machines in London.

Rain & AnemoneStarHeart lit up with live EEG data

At the moment I am mostly out of general circulation as I’m collecting and analysing data which is feeding into the new emotive wearable devices I am building, whilst simultaneously endeavoring to write up / finish my PhD thesis to deadline.

Francis Bitonti’s New Skins Workshop 2015 at Digits2Widgets, London

Containers of work to be opened!

After staying in writing over Xmas and New Year, I was very excited to escape the confines of my desk to join Francis Bitonti’s New Skins Workshop on computational design for textiles, for two weeks at Digits2Widgets 3D printing bureau in Camden.

The workshops consisted of alternating tutorials on techniques for creating 3D textile meshes in Autodesk Maya and Rhino 3D software, and also writing Processing sketches for 3D graphics. The workshops were taught by Francis Bitonti and Arthur Azoulai.

Tom modelling textures on the body in Rhino 3D
Tom’s work on wrapping mesh to make a shirt around a body.

Our first week started off by creating meshes for the body in skirt and shirt like forms in Rhino 3D. We then experimented with various mesh techniques to apply varied distributions of extruded geometric shapes on to a mesh. Going on to concentrate on creating interlocking aspects of a circle, we created a repeated template that could be used to create chainmail in Rhino 3D.

Magdalena making chain mail in Rhino
Magdalena making chain mail for textiles in Rhino 3D.

In Maya we played with primitive polygon shapes and then experimented with them in the animation timeline to flip and tween between shapes, which we could then start to turn into mesh textiles by joining them together.

New Skins Workshop montage
L-R work by Victoria, Ezmeralda, Tom and Ioana.

After discussing our ideas and designs for what we would like to individually create, we spent a couple of days building our own meshes. Every .STL file was checked over and fixed in Materialise’s very useful app, Magics (which I wish I could afford for future work!), before sending to the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) machine to be turned into real objects via the magic of a laser zapping powdered nylon.

New Skins Workshop montage
L-R work by Nada, Magdalena, me and Carmen.

Whilst the objects in the machine were being turned around, which takes several hours as the cubicle inside the machine stacks up several files / containers of work to be processed at a time, we did some examples of Processing sketches to create 3D graphics. We also learned about other software packages such as ZBrush, which is a powerful 3D sculpturing tool for manipulating 3D objects and looks like amazing fun to play with.

Two heart shapes for a locket to contain electronics
My design shaping up in Rhino 3D.

AnemoneStarsHeart pieces
The container with my heart halves inside just opened by Johnathan!

Of course the most exciting part of the two-weeks was receiving the containers from the SLS machine, with the fruits of our creativity neatly concealed inside! I created a heart-shaped shell enclosure /pendant with a repeated star mesh to create an anemone-like effect. This was created to house the electronics and act as a diffuser of data in the form of coloured light for the next iteration of my EEG Visualising Pendant. The pendant amplifies and visualises attention and meditation EEG data from the wearer via a NeuroSky EEG headset.

AnemoneStarsHeart heart lit up with live EEG data
AnemoneStarsHeart lit up with live EEG data from my brainz!

Rain & AnemoneStarsHeart heart lit up with live EEG data
AnemoneStarsHeart lit up with live EEG data via Bluetooth NeuroSky MindWave headset.

Many thanks to Francis, Arthur, Jonathan and the staff at D2W for a great two weeks of fun and excellent hospitality, plus not forgetting the lovely attendees of the workshop who were fab to hang out with.

Baroesque Barometric Skirt in New Scientist & on show at Microsoft Research, Redmond, USA

As we trundle into the dark winter days of 2014, I will be locking myself away to write, so I won’t be traveling to show my work in any exciting cities for a while.

So, just a couple of nuggets of recent news on my Baroesque Barometric Skirt – I was delighted to hear that it had been featured in the ‘One Per Cent’ column in New Scientist Magazine, September 27th issue, which reported on it being shown at the ISWC (International Symposium on Wearable Computing) Design Exhibition at the EMP Museum in Seattle last September. If you’d like to read my paper on the skirt it is available from the ACM or ask me for a copy.

My Barometric Skirt in New Scientist, in Mayday Hosp shop
The Baroesque Barometric Skirt featured in New Scientist

Rain & New Scientist, which contains pic & mention of Baroesque Barometric Skirt
Me being chuffed in Smiths with a copy of New Scientist

The Baroesque Barometric Skirt was also on display at Microsoft Research Gallery during September and October, which was organised by Asta Roseway of Microsoft Research and Troy Natchtigall, chair of the ISWC Design Exhibition. The skirt, which is part of my PhD practice should be winging its way back to me soon and I’m looking forward to being reunited with it.

ISWC Design Exhibition at Microsoft Research Gallery, Redmond, WA, USA
Baroesque Barometric Skirt exhibited at the Microsoft Research Gallery in Redmond, WA, USA. Image by kind permission of James Hallam of Georgia Tech, whose Ballet Hero garment is also featured in this photo.

ISWC Design Exhibition at Microsoft Research Gallery, Redmond, WA, USA

Some of the other exhibits on show at Microsoft Research Gallery. Images by kind permission of James Hallam.

ISWC Design Exhibition at Microsoft Research Gallery, Redmond, WA, USA

Whilst in Seattle at ISWC, I took advantage of the interesting decor of the Motif Hotel to make a new video of the skirt. Many thanks to Johnny Farringdon for being my cameraman 🙂