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A pair of jackets emits, and polls for a particular signal. Once the pair finds each other, in at least 10 feet distance, facing each other, the two beep – emitting a sound akin to crickets mating, and a pattern of LEDs blinks (light emitting diodes; small, bright, energy efficient lights). Each jacket responds only to its unique pair.
The technology used is basic: an infra-red receiver and transmitter, a PIC chip (programmable interrupt controller) that controls the LEDs and speaker output and sends out the “bits” of code that allows the pairs to find each other. The components are all surface mount which means that the technology is as transparent as possible. Instead of wires, the components are attached to the circuit board via conductive fabric “conduits.”
While the project aims to explore social interactional patterns and institute new ones, it also elaborates ways in which technology can seamlessly be integrated in garments. The aim of the project is not to create “cyber” garments, but use technology in surprising and innovative ways and place emphasis not on the technology but on its uses.
Infra-red is used both to accentuate the possibility of communication through an invisible spectrum and because of its inherent limitation: infra-red only works in “line-of-sight.” The two wearers have to literally “see” each other in order for the jackets to be activated. The fact that infra-red technology is most commonly used in remote controls adds its own layer of irony.
The LoveJackets were part of the Pattern Language show, organized by the Tufts University Art Gallery, curated by Judith Fox, and Traveling Summer 2005-Winter 2008.
social functionality : nomadic lifestyles : serendipity : digital courting
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