Abstract

Augmenting clothes with sensors and actuators and turning them into smart clothes, offers new possibilities to mediate the space between users and their environment. The current COVID pandemic provides an ideal research opportunity, given that it challenges conventional norms of personal distance. We developed hairs with LEDs showing six types of dynamic behaviour as a research vehicle and mounted them onto face masks, commonly used during the pandemic. A qualitative phenomenological study was conducted with six subjects. The interview data from their experiences was analysed using the ‘framework of context’ from environmental psychology. We uncover three modes by which smart clothes can influence the user-environment context: to increase the perception of the body; to alter the perception of space; or as a medium to communicate with our environment. The findings are interpreted to discuss new opportunities for the design of smart clothing that play an active role in mediating the user-environment context.

Keywords

smart clothing, social distance, embodied interaction, phenomenology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Conference Track

Research Paper

COinS
 
Jun 25th, 9:00 AM

How smart clothing can mediate the space between users and their environment, a case study using face masks

Augmenting clothes with sensors and actuators and turning them into smart clothes, offers new possibilities to mediate the space between users and their environment. The current COVID pandemic provides an ideal research opportunity, given that it challenges conventional norms of personal distance. We developed hairs with LEDs showing six types of dynamic behaviour as a research vehicle and mounted them onto face masks, commonly used during the pandemic. A qualitative phenomenological study was conducted with six subjects. The interview data from their experiences was analysed using the ‘framework of context’ from environmental psychology. We uncover three modes by which smart clothes can influence the user-environment context: to increase the perception of the body; to alter the perception of space; or as a medium to communicate with our environment. The findings are interpreted to discuss new opportunities for the design of smart clothing that play an active role in mediating the user-environment context.

 

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