Data-Powered Clothing Reveals More Or Less Skin In Response To Online Activity

Data-Powered Clothing Reveals More Or Less Skin In Response To Online Activity

The wearable sculpture 'x.pose' changes opacity to expose a person as they produce trails of information.

Emma Hutchings
  • 11 june 2014

Designers Xuedi Chen and Pedro G. C. Oliveira have collaborated on a project that aims to demonstrate how naked and vulnerable we can be in the digital realm. For the ITP Thesis 2014 at NYU, they designed a wearable data-driven sculpture called ‘x.pose‘.

Changing opacity to expose the wearer’s skin, x.pose is a real-time reflection of the data they are producing. The personalized couture mesh armature reacts to the information and causes the wearer to become more transparent and exposed in certain areas.


This creation explores the relationship people share with data and is a comment on the internet culture of our generation. Smartphone users connect with services like Facebook and Google, sharing their personal data and revealing where they are and what they’re doing through their account activity.

Taking things a step further, x.pose broadcasts the wearer’s digital data for all to see. A server and mobile app were built to automatically collect designer Xuedi Chen’s geolocation data over time to use as the basis for a personalized 3D printed flexible mesh. These were built 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 carried out a lot of experimentation in order to find the perfect material for the sculpture that would be both flexible and durable. Real-time data is transmitted through bluetooth to an Arduino processor, enabling the app to communicate with a layer of twenty hand-cut reactive displays, reflecting the information that is being produced.

The displays on the wearable sculpture are divided up into patches. These represent different neighborhoods and change in opacity depending on the wearer’s current location. For example, if they are in the NYU neighborhood, that area will be the most active and as a result it will start pulsing. This reveals their current location and exposes their skin at the same time. As their data emissions are collected, they will gradually become even more transparent and exposed, showing the vulnerable nature of the relationship we share with our data.



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