The X.pose 3-D Transparent Dress: Wearable Tech’s Strip Poker
Torture the data and it will confess to anything. ~ Ronald Coase
In it's own way, sharing information is like taking off one's clothes, one piece at a time. In both instances, how far one goes depends on levels of desired transparency. The 3-D printed strapless dress known as X.pose is the creative brain-child of designers Xuedi Chen and Pedro Oliveira, and it is true to the claim of its title. The dress literally exposes the skin based on user location and data shared online.
Linking real world nakedness and online transparency
In today's world few of us really think about the power wielded by digital media companies over our very lives. Facebook was behind Egypt's social and political revolution a few years back and greatly influences the actions of those both on the fringe and those who just blindly ride alongside it.
Both Google and Facebook have stretched the concept of personal privacy to the point where it is no longer clear where lines are drawn. There's little question that visibility translates into vulnerabiity, and the borders of the digital realm shrink every day as they intrude into our work, our lives and in this case, into our very clothes.
The misson and brains behind the X.pose 3-D transparent dress
Xuedi Chen, an NYU graduate student along with collaborator, Pedro Oliviera, has developed a new way to utilize 3-D priniting. Together, they have created for Thesis Week. during which students enrolled in the Interactive Telecommunications Program unveil creations made during their final project seminars. The end result is a strapless dress which changes from opaque to transparent as data is shared online via 20 hand-cut reactive displays that are built into the garment's flexible mesh structure.
According to data presented at the Behance project page, which is a network of sites and services owned by Adobe specializing in self-promotion:
"These displays are divided up into patches that represent neighborhoods and change in opacity depending on the wearer's current location. if the user is in the NYU neighborhood, that area will be the most active: pulsing...and at the same time exposing the wearer's skin. As data emisssions are collected, the more transparent and exposed the user will become."
How does the X.pose dress work?
The X.pose dress was created using a Rhino 3D modeler and a 3-D printer. The user's data is tracked via a mobile app using Node.js and PhoneGap. That same app works to transmit all the collected data directly into the 3-D printed dress. Bluetooth is the vehicle that sends all the shared data to the dress. The garment's web-like design hides white, opaque panels that turn transparent as the wearer begins to share.
According to Chen: "The panels are made of smart, film, or electro-chromic film. It's used most commonly for privacy glass.The film is opaque when off, and running a specific amount of electricity that becomes transparent in micro-seconds."
X.pose and its implications about women in society
It may be just a coincidence that at this point at least, there are no male garments to demonstrate this odd wearable tech innovation. Then again, it may have to do with that age-old fascination with the female body. Thinking of data as breasts and vice versa is a bit mind-boggling and raises many questions about women and how they are perceived both by themselves and by society at large.
The X.pose 3-D transparent strapless dress connects actual nakedness wirh virtual exposure, creating a uniique perspective and rendering a new interpretation to the term, double exposure. Although at present it remains an art project and not a ready-to-wear production run, there is hope for this dress in the future. X.pose feeds into today's Internet culture and the paradoxical and inimical obsessions with both publicity and privacy.
Good luck, X.pose 3-D transparent strapless gown!
M Dee Dubroff
Fashion and Technology Blogger