menu

Backpack Destroys Personal Data And Turns It Into Puffs Of Smoke

technology

Data Vaporizer smoke machine makes the invisible visible.

Rachel Pincus
  • 29 may 2014

In a digital age where our personal data is routinely bought and sold, the movement of our data is surprisingly invisible. We don’t see where our data goes, not even in an abstract way, and we don’t get any sort of physical sign when it stays with us, either. Interaction designer Ji Won Jun’s “Data Vaporizer” backpack is a visual meditation on this problem; it imagines a not-too-distant future when wearable devices are constantly and silently transmitting data to various companies. Some of this is for a purpose that’s useful to us, some of this isn’t.

_MG_1177_2x.jpg

The backpack, which was designed for a course at the Art Center College of Design and sponsored by the Intel Corporation, intercepts data that’s about to go to the cloud and ‘vaporizes’ it at the same time, creating both a real and symbolic shield. The backpack includes an ‘inhaler’ device that attaches to your hand and triggers it either when someone gets too close to the inhaler’s proximity sensor or when you breathe into it. An Arduino board then tells a valve inside the backpack to rotate hot water and dry ice and starts a fan that pushes the vapor out. The backpack can be used both to obscure your own data or destroy the data of those around you.

_MG_1559_2x.jpg

Not only does the smoke symbolize privacy, it also creates it, “form[ing] temporarily visible and defensible personal space for the user,” by obscuring them from unpleasant physical interactions. And one day this might matter: according to the designers, in the future there could be the alarming (but as-yet obscure) possibility of “getting robbed [of] their data by physical contact.” Not to mention, there are currently some surprising forms of data theft that can occur with just a clear photo – so visual privacy might be real privacy after all.

_MG_1295_2x.jpg

One of Jun’s goals with the project was to use smoke to make the invisible visible, much like the opposite of the Karl Max quote, “all that is solid melts into air”; instead of erasing our personal interests and replacing them with monetary concerns, the Data Vaporizer asks us to re-evaluate how much of our data we’ve divested out into the world, where it becomes both vulnerable and ephemeral. And there’s no smoke and mirrors about that. See the video below for an example of an interaction with the device:

Ji Won Jun

[h/t] Fast Company, Business Insider

 

technology
Trending

Volvo's Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Be Put To Work In An Underground Mine

Automotive
Automotive Today

Toyota Is Using Sewage To Power Its New Electric Car

A new hydrogen-fueled vehicle is driven by what we flush away

Culture Today

Catch A Concert On This Small Floating Island

A man-made archipelago in Italy is hosting music and art performances

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Design & Architecture Today

DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Woodenwidget says its detailed guides are suitable for beginners and experienced woodworkers alike

Related Expert

Dave Hall

Product design, industrial upcycling

Design Today

Crash-Friendly Drone Made From LEGOs Is Completely Rebuildable

The clever device offers games, education and the uniquely rewarding experience of destroying your high-flying airship

Fitness / Sport Today

Free Sneakers Given Out To Motivated Marathon Runners

Strava will give the shoes to athletes who run the second half of their race faster than the first

Culture Today

Someone Invented A Robot Just To Serve Trays Of Beef Jerky

Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, in partnership with Chef's Cut Real Jerky, creates an automated snack delivery system

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 27, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Today

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Millennials Today

Why A Social Networking Site Decided To Rebrand

Meetup, a platform that connects like-minded individuals, has taken steps to stay relevant amongst millennials

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: The People-First Workplace Should Borrow From Tradition

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX underline the old-fashioned ideas that deserve a place in the Future of Work

Op-Ed Today

Digital Design Expert: Mobile First Is Dead, Think Mobile Native

Brian Cooper, chief creative officer of OLIVER Group UK, explains how some brands are still playing catch-up to new technology

Fashion Today

Handbags Crafted From An Old NFL Stadium

People for Urban Progress is an up-cycling program that tackles the waste problem of big demolitions

Work Today

Tech Job Site Created Just For Those Who Are Older Than 30

A new occupational job board presents a creative solution to age discrimination in the tech world

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Europe Today

Architect Turns A Giant Smile Into A Public Exhibition

The structure offers visitors a new perspective of London and creates an immersive environment that integrates structure, surface, space and light

Children Today

Norwegian Kids Are Using Their Phones To Log Unsafe Street Conditions

Travel Agent is an app that gamifies the reporting of hazardous conditions to improve the safety of children's commute to school

Travel Today

Google Wants To Help You Plan Your Next Trip

A new app curates vacation itineraries and organizes reservation emails to take the work out of planning a getaway

No search results found.