Jun 11, 2014

In today's data-driven society, every government and corporation is collecting data from as many people as possible. Individuals carrying smartphones and interacting with social media networks have granted service providers explicit rights to gather and utilize personal data. Based on account activity logs, Google knows where you are and what you like, and Facebook knows what your friends' hobbies are and who they are.

A 3D printed dress that exposes a person's skin as a real-time reflection of the data that the wearer is producing aims to explore the current internet culture of our generation and the relationship we share with our data.

This project, called x.pose, is a wearable technology project created by Pedro Oliveira and Xuedi Chen for NYU ITP's thesis show. They describe it as a "wearable data-driven sculpture".

"In the physical realm we can deliberately control which portions our bodies are exposed to the world by covering it with clothing. In the digital realm, we have much less control of what personal aspects we share with the services that connect us. In the digital realm we are naked and vulnerable."

Production | Making Of

To produce the dress, the designers first built a mobile app and server to collect the wearer's smartphone data over a month, using Node.js and PhoneGap. The recorded data set is then fed into processing to produce the pattern and exported to Rhino to make the 3D mesh. The designers have done lots of experimentation at this stage to find the right material that would be both flexible and durable.

Next, the app and server use real-time data to control the mesh fabric and change the level of transparency depending on the level of data. The more information that is "passively generated" via Facebook posts or tweets, the mesh becomes more see and the more the wearer's skin is exposed.

"These displays are divided up into patches that represent neighborhoods and change in opacity depending on the wearer's current location. If she is in the NYU neighborhood, that area will be the most active, pulsing, revealing her current location, revealing the fact that her data is being collected and at the same time exposing her skin. As her data emissions are collected, the more transparent and exposed she will become."

The dress is then 3D printed using flexible materials.

The designers say: "There currently exists a paradox in our internet culture. As a generation, we are simultaneously obsessed with publicity and privacy. While we publish and post details about our lives online, at the same time we demand the most advanced privacy protection software. An unprecedented degree of potential exposure comes with the current mode of existence.

By participating in this hyper-connected society while having little to no control of my digital data production, how much of myself do I unknowingly reveal?"


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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