Glowing Garments

Grace Ma, College of Engineering and Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

Collaborator: Nachiketa Gargi, College of Engineering and School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Our motion- and sound-controlled clothing is multidisciplinary, combining fashion, design, music technology, and computer science. We aim to make an interactive garment that can augment a user’s expression, whether it be through movement and song. Our goal is to have this be worn during music celebrations. Our outfit is established in two parts:

First, is a cloth mask made out of LED fiber optic fabric. This, using a small microphone and microcontroller, reacts to a user’s voice and surrounding environments. This is not only appropriate with the pandemic world we live in, the reactive lights allow the wearer greater expression. Usually, a person’s voice will be muffled while wearing the mask. The lights allow the user to be more easily seen when speaking.

The second component is a long skirt that is also made of the same fiber optic material. Electronics will be mounted along the belt, including a WiFi-enabled microcontroller, motion sensors, and LEDs (that feed into the fiber optic cables). This skirt will light up different colors as it reacts to the wearer’s movements, as measured by the motion sensors. This will allow for additional expression in movement and body language. Additionally, the skirt may be synced with music so it reacts in real-time with audio, creating a multifaceted experience of sound, lights, and technology. While a dancer’s movements may not normally be seen in the dark, their movements may now be emphasized through light and color.

While light-up clothing is not new, our outfit is reactive and interactive in real-time using state-of-the-art microcontrollers. Our team consists of multidisciplinary individuals who have experience in cosplay, audio technology, computer science, and dance. By having frequent meetings and learning from each others’ diverse experiences, we believe this interdisciplinary collaboration will be beneficial for our project.