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The Personal Space Dress uses proximity sensors to create a protective forcefield when someone gets too close.

For those of us living in large cities, it’s usually the subway — but people living everywhere and commuting any way know how uncomfortable it is to feel that someone is invading your personal space, and no one knows more about that than then subway riders of Hong Kong. Falling victim to this feeling, Kathleen McDermott, an MFA Creative Media student at City University of Hong Kong, has created a mechanical dress that will adjust its hem when a nearby person starts creeping in too close.

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When The Personal Space Dress detects that a person is too close, it uses sensors to activate an altered umbrella technique that expands the circumference of the dress, creating a barrier between the wearer and neighboring people. When more space becomes available, the dress retracts to its original form. Not available for sale, McDermott has posted instructions and code for the DIY dress, so that women can create their own versions, even going as far as including placed where you can buy the materials if you don’t already know where they can be purchased.

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Urban Armor, the company behind the design, creates playful wearable electronics made specifically for women. Their projects explore different ways women can take control of their personal space in public, challenging how commercial wearable technology is developing right now. Unlike many other devices that are mass-produced and overly focused on data, Urban Armor’s custom designs are literally involved in the physical world, as can be seen by the Personal Space Dress. Other items that are part of the program include a scarf that covers your face when too much pollution is detected in the air and a hat that hides the wearer’s identity from CCTV cameras.

To see how the dress works, check out the video.


The Personal Space Dress

[h/t] The Verge

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