3D-printed interactive wearable reacts to ogling

The "Caress of the Gaze" 3D-printed garment has a hidden camera that has a facial tracking algorithm so the "shirt" can react to being ogled. It seems to fit in the additivism category.

What do you get when you think way, way outside the box and mix a camera that has a facial-tracking algorithm with 3D printing? Caress of the Gaze, a "3D-printed gaze actuated wearable." The camera, hidden in the quills, has a microcontroller that is meant to detect the gender and age of the person staring at the wearer; the garment ripples in response to gawking.

Hidden camera in Caress of the Gaze 3D-printed wearable Behnaz Farahi

It's a fairly decent bet that most women don't need an interactive 3D wearable shirt fitted with a camera to have experienced the "Hey, I'm up here" scenario when a person keeps staring at her chest area during a conversation.

Caress of the Gaze was created by Behnaz Farahi, an architect and interaction designer, as part of the Autodesk Pier 9 Artists in Residence program and sponsored by Madworkshop. Farahi wrote, "What if our outfit could recognize and respond to the gaze of the other? This is an interactive 3D printed wearable, which can detect other people's gaze and respond accordingly with life-like behavior."

Farahi used a Stratasys Objet Connex500 3D printer since it "allows the fabrication of composite materials with varying flexibilities [and] densities, and can combine materials in several ways with different material properties deposited in a single print run."

She also told PSFK that the 3D wearable was "inspired by the flexible behavior of the skin" and "therefore exhibits different material characteristics in various parts of the body ranging from stiff to soft." She has developed other interactive wearables, such as Synapse, a 3D-printed helmet that morphs its shape and color based on brainwaves.

The Creators Project likened Caress of the Gaze to giving the wearer a "super power" to detect when she is being ogled, but Farahi's 3D-printed wearable also snagged the attention of 3D additivists Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke. They quoted PSFK, "As the human species has evolved, many of our mating rituals have gone from the plainly visible, such as body parts changing color, to quieter mind games and ruses."


Just as I had not previously heard of Caress of the Gaze, I was previously unaware of additivism. They explained, "3D fabrication can be thought of as the critical framework of Additivism: a movement that aims to disrupt material, social, computational, and metaphysical realities through provocation, collaboration, and ‘weird'/science fictional thinking."

The 3D Additivist Manifesto and upcoming 3D Additivist Cookbook are meant to "blur the boundaries between art, engineering, science fiction, and digital aesthetics." The manifesto states, in part:

We want to encourage, interfere, and reverse-engineer the possibilities encoded into the censored, the invisible, and the radical notion of the 3D printer itself. To endow the printer with the faculties of plastic: condensing imagination within material reality.

The 3D Additivist Cookbook was inspired by The Anarchist Cookbook. It will include "speculative texts, templates, recipes and (im)practical designs for living in this most contradictory of times."

The additivists wrote:

We believe technology can open up new perspectives, providing us with the means to challenge the structures, ideas, and institutions that maintain the status quo. But technological change is - almost by definition - tied to the functions of capitalism: a system that profits the few, often at the expense of civil liberties or the environment. The 3D Additivist Manifesto calls creators and thinkers to action around a technology filled with hope and promise: the 3D printer. By considering this technology as a potential force for good, bad, and otherwise, we aim to disrupt binary thinking entirely, drawing together makers and thinkers invested in the idea of real, radical, change.

The cookbook, which will surely be filled with thinking out-of-the-box projects like Caress of the Gaze, will be published online in early 2016 under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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