Wedding ‘stress’ dress among SIAT showcase projects

A wedding gown that can display the inner emotions of the bride, created by Emily Ip (lleft) and Wynnie Chung, will be among several projects featured at the annual SIAT showcase competition at SFU Surrey on Feb. 8. - SFU Surrey photo
A wedding gown that can display the inner emotions of the bride, created by Emily Ip (lleft) and Wynnie Chung, will be among several projects featured at the annual SIAT showcase competition at SFU Surrey on Feb. 8.
— image credit: SFU Surrey photo

A silkspun wedding dress that can unveil a bride’s emotions with blinking lights and pulsating fabric flowers is the latest creation of Simon Fraser University graduate Emily Ip, working with co-designer Wynnie Chung, a student in the School for Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT).

It’s one of several student projects to be highlighted at SIAT’s annual showcase competition on Friday, Feb. 8 from 4-8 p.m. The technology event is free and open to the public.

Wo.Defy is an interactive kinetic garment modeled after the traditional Chinese wedding dress. Its designers call it a “wearable story” that uncovers a woman’s inner emotional journey.

The idea was inspired by a group of 20th century Chinese women known as the Self-Combing Sisters, suffragettes who lived in the southern Canton province of China and challenged the marital, economic and cultural roles of women.

Inspired by their determination and stance toward self-advocacy and self-sufficiency, Ip says Wo.Defy investigates “the notion of intrapersonal ambivalence, resulting from cultural tensions that emerge when new beliefs confront thousand-year-old traditions.” Human hair is also metaphorically incorporated within the garment.

The design, stitched entirely by hand, produces physical kinetic “contractions” based on the wearer’s physiological breathing patterns and kinetic sensor motions. When the heart rate increases and muscles contract, tiny LED lights strung through the gown blink, while sewn flowers pulsate.

The project will be showcased at TEI’13, the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction conference, in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 10-13. Earlier, Ip created enVella, a protection-themed dress that envelops the wearer when heart rate increases.

Other SIAT student projects range from a variety of prototypes and digital applications to animation and art performances. Judging panels are comprised of industry professionals, faculty members and alumni. On display at Friday's event will be the top three category submissions, which will compete for a spot in the School's annual magazine publication Dejine and a $500 cash prize. Among those being shown include:

Sensorium is a virtual reality system that allows users to guide visual and aural stimuli in a digital world by concentrating on their stress levels. A Galvanic Skin Response system is being developed in SFU Surrey’s Pain Studies Lab.

Cohesify is a set of digital classroom tools and proposes a redesign of the classroom experience, by mitigating distractions that students bring into the classroom with their various mobile devices and using them to the class’s advantage.

Braccialetto puts GPS technology to practical use for cyclists in the form of arm bands that help them to interact directly with the environment and experience their surroundings while navigating freely.

Tiger Shark provides an automated simulation of a Chinese dragon dance.

"This event provides SIAT students with a invaluable learning opportunity. It's a way that they can interact and network with some of the leading technology and design professionals in the Lower Mainland", says co-organizer and SIAT student, Paulina Lam. "Our students' creative edge is what will we are known for in this community; we surely will not disappoint."

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