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 SoftLab is a space dedicated to the research and development of artistic projects using soft-circuits and wearable technology in the Center for Digital Arts & Experimental Media (DxArts) at the University of Washington, in Seattle.


Wearable game controller, FLY HIGH project by Chanee Choi

Wearable game controller, FLY HIGH project by Chanee Choi

This year I’ve been working a major component of my doctoral program that combines traditional Korean crafts, fashion, and technology. This year I created a video game and the first version of a wearable controller in the form of a dress. I want to continue developing my technological skills so I can create a cap that allows players to control the game with their thoughts.

The first game I made in SoftLabs had simple gameplay functions like up, left and right. This was because I wanted to learn how to allow the dress to control those functions.

 FLY HIGH video game with Unity 3D engine

FLY HIGH video game with Unity 3D engine

FLY HIGH background image

My second quarter was focused on learning mechatronics and accelerometer sensors so I could embed them into my dress. I created several prototypes that explored the different functions I wanted to include. The end result was a dress that responds to the wearer’s motions. I chose white and clear colors for the dress so it could be versatile during gameplay. It changes colors based on the player’s behavior and reflects other colors within the game. For example, you could control the lights on the dress by pulling on three colored bulbs. When you pull the blue control, the blue bulbs on the dress react and light up, pull the red and the red ignite, and pull the white control, the white bulbs ignite. Pulling a combination will light up more than one color at a time.

The third quarter I created two attachments to the dress meant to interact with the video game I made in my first quarter. Both attachments have feathers and are shaped like a breast. They also have sensors, but they react to nearby movement rather than the movement of the person wearing them. For example, when another person moves near the feathers or the nipple lights, they animate and light up. The wearable controls and dynamic reactions help players feel completely immersed in the video game.

Dress design
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Wearable Synthesizer: Modifying open source code with the use of E-textiles by William Perry

Wearable Synthesizer: Modifying open source code with the use of E-textiles by William Perry