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This 3-D Printed Garment Reacts to Being Looked At

Textile technology has stepped beyond odor-control and wrinkle resistance and into the realm of science fiction, where a change in temperature or wind speed changes the color of clothes.

Behnaz Farahi, a self-described “interaction designer” based in Los Angeles, has taken a Wizard of Oz approach and given a garment the ability to read emotions. “Caress of the Gaze” is an interactive, 3-D printed wearable that responds to onlookers with lifelike behavior.

Produced last year as part of the Autodesk Pier 9 artists-in-residence program in San Francisco, the garment is modeled after real skin and responds freely thanks to an embedded facial tracking algorithm that knows when it’s being watched.

“It was inspired by looking at the behavior and properties of skin,” Farahi told Fast Company. “The idea was to create an artificial skin inspired by nature, with enhanced functionality, which could function as an extension of our actual skin, while providing novel forms of interaction between our body and the surrounding environment.”

Farahi’s website dives a bit deeper into the nitty gritty, describing how the garment exhibits different behaviors in various parts of the body ranging from stiff to soft, and investigates how clothing could interact with other people as a primary interface using computer vision technologies.

“To me, the future of fashion lies in the promise of being dynamic and interactive with the wearer,” Farahi said. “Wearable technologies are changing our notion of what our bodies can do, allowing them to be augmented, enhanced and expanded.”

“Caress of the Gaze” isn’t the only wearable Farahi has worked on. She also co-created “Ruff” last year, a spring-loaded 3-D printed garment that coils around the body and responds to the wearer’s movement.