If you prefer to keep what's going on in your brain to yourself, the latest creation by Dutch fashiontech designer Anouk Wipprecht is not for you.
Pangolin (an unfortunate name, for me) is a dress that moves and lights up by adjusting according to brain waves. Do you feel calm? The garment glows a slow, soothing purple. Stressed? Lights flicker and small motorized components protrude from the robotic suit like animatronic wings flap more frantically.
How the Pangolin robotic suit works
Pangolin is the result of the collaboration of the Institute for Integrated Circuits of the Johannes Kepler University of Linz and the neurotechnology company G.tec. The two institutes developed the sensor system. Wipprecht fashioned the dress with a strong yet lightweight nylon material.
With all its sensors and cables, this is hardly a dress you wear for a short stroll around. Like Wipprecht's other wearables, it's an intriguing look at what we might someday wear with the convergence of technology and fashion.
The 3D printed robotic suit requires you to put on a brain computer interface personalized. Pangolin contemplates the use of a kind of head-hugging headset that incorporates 1.204 tiny electroencephalography (EEG) sensors. The sensors are similar to the scales that cover the skin of a pangolin, hence the name of the dress.
The cap resembles something an android would wear in a science fiction movie. It translates the brain's electrical signals into 64 actuators that control the small “scales” on the dress that move up and down and light up according to the person's state. The wearer, therefore, collaborates with the robotic suit, which behaves differently depending on the neurons that drive it. It's basically like wearing your own neurons.
“Pangolin provides a very individual animation of the suit,” says Wipprecht, who sees the robotic suit as a new way to visualize the intricacies of the brain.
Anouk Wipprecht, tech stylist
His past creations have included a robotic suit equipped with proximity sensors. A "guard" dress that defends someone's personal space if others get too close.
The Pangolin robotic dress will show this week at the annual Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria. An event that (also due to Covid) will take place remotely in 120 locations around the world. You can also watch the event online.