Project

Wearables for Orientation, Wearables for Communication

Copyright

Steve Boxall, Zero-G

Steve Boxall, Zero-G 

A space architecture project for the Mechanical Artifact: Ultra Space course in partnership with the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media (CCAM) and the School of Architecture at Yale. 

by Sam Landy

A space architecture project for the Mechanical Artifact: Ultra Space course in partnership with the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media (CCAM) and the School of Architecture at Yale. 

by Sam Landy

Copyright

Steve Boxall, Zero-G

Can we feel gravity in space?

This project was born from a desire to reclaim the spatial awareness afforded to us on earth through a variety of senses: sight, touch, and inner ear feedback. Though the initial thought was to create a series of vibration-generating wearables that could be paired with distance sensors and a gyroscopic sensor to provide the user with real-time feedback regarding their physical orientation in a zero-gravity environment, the project amalgamated to be an outwardly expressive and performative piece, with colored LEDs replacing the vibration motors.

The final devices include four ultrasonic distance sensors - one worn on each of the wrists and feet, which were all fed into an Arduino worn on the chest. A gyroscopic sensor, also worn on the chest, provides the Arduino with information regarding the orientation of the wearer’s torso. The code interpreted this data, translating it into colors to be projected by the LEDs (situated on the wrists, feet, thighs, biceps, and chest).

The goal of this project is to obtain gyroscopic data translated to a blinking pattern. In practice, this was hard to achieve as the refresh rate of the entire system created some ambiguity in the blinking pattern of the LEDs. This project address the question of how many fabricated “senses” can be delivered through the same channels of expression. In this case, the devices are arguably delivering information that on earth would usually be sensed through the eyes and the inner ear, but communicating the information solely through a visual medium. As this information grows in complexity, and becomes harder to easily digest quickly, the initial simplicity of the only visual communication becomes much more cumbersome.