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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.


Chameleon Color Changing Wearable by Taylor Hammes

Chameleon Color Changing Wearable by Taylor Hammes

How can we go beyond our biological makeup to heal the earth and ourselves within the anthropocene? Is it possible to shed disquietude by creating a new technological surface to our skin that cools down the earth and protects ourselves from an eminently violent world? Inspired by the protective and spectacular display of the chameleon skin, I started to envision new skin that protects the human body from its environment.

photo// Mars Ray  model// Jasmmine Ramgotra // JASE  jasecreations.com

photo// Mars Ray

model// Jasmmine Ramgotra // JASE jasecreations.com

Sketch I, Chameleon Coat

Sketch I, Chameleon Coat

What if we could reflect and become our environment through the seemingly thin and vulnerable state of our skin? How can we explore technology that allows us to have a high albedo effect to help cool down the earth? 

Questions I have for exploring this project further are: What if our skin could reflect the sun back out into the earth to help cool it down, or stop it from warming anymore? What would our skin look like if it had an output that unveiled how we are reacting to our planets temperatures or anxieties? Questions that I would like to research more in the future of this project are how do we source the materials for our new skin responsibility? Who will be making our new skin? Would individuals be taught how to make their own skin? Otherwise who will have access to adopt a new biological makeup? How can the fashion industry, designers and consumers play an active role on transforming an industry with has been notoriously unaware of the effects of its sourcing into a tool of protection, healing and expression?

This is the first of many layers of my skin that I will ritually fabricate for protection and activation. Perhaps through the awareness of fibers and electronic components we can process our own anxieties about our bodies within the anthropocene. 

The Chameleon Coat has a color sensor embedded in the right sleeve of the coat which process the RBG color values in the room and emitting them through the fiber optic cable and less on the back. Near the color sensor on the coat there is a electromyographic sensor which activates a servo motor near the shoulder to remind myself when I am wearing this skin that it is on and activated.

Check out https://github.com/tbhammes/chameleon_coat to view code and schematics!

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 Atayal Modern Times - Camouflage Suit by Chanee Choi

Atayal Modern Times - Camouflage Suit by Chanee Choi