My final project is a dress that changes color with movement. The color change will take place using LEDs on the skirt and thermal color changing paint atop heater fabric on the corset. An Adafruit FLORA board and a FLORA accelerometer will control if and how quickly the colors change. The accelerometer will provide information about how quickly the person wearing the dress is moving to the FLORA board, which will then control how quickly the colors on the dress will change (quicker movements causing the colors to change more quickly). The FLORA will control both the lights and the heater fabric by scaling the input from the accelerometer. For the LEDs, the accelerometer input will be used as the milliseconds of delay between one light turning off and another turning on. Thhe accelerometer input will also dictate how much current is flowing into the heater fabric. These two features together will create an animation on the dress that will make it appear that the dress in moving along with the wearer.
The metaphor that I am trying to convey through this project is “women in STEM”. The dress I chose to use for this project resembles a wedding dress, which is about as feminine as it gets. The dress is also really old (the bridal shop that made it no longer exists). I altered the dress to make it more modern, but it struck me that when this kind of dress was in style WPI was an all male school. Additionally, the idea behind the color of a wedding dress was originally intended to symbolize the “purity” or “virginity” of the woman wearing it. These are very outdated values that demonstrate the unfair expectations of women in that time. The dress for this project, however, will be covered with technical gadgets that change the white color of the dress into a diverse rainbow. The dress also changes color more quickly as the person wearing it move more quickly, symbolizing a greater equality as we move forward.
Below is a drawing of what the dress will look like when it is finished: