A mind-controlled 3D-printed dress with displays that respond through a brain-computer interface

Have you ever wondered how much stimulus your brain receives at any given time? Well, the latest creation from FashionTech Designer Anouk Wipprecht can give you a response as it measures cognitive load in real-time. It is a mind-controlled 3D printed dress with displays that respond through a brain-computer interface.

The dress is designed as part of a process that aims to show the direct correlations between your actions and how your brain reacts to them.

The term ‘cognitive load’ refers to the amount of information our working memory can process at any given time. What would happen if you could show your cognitive load to the outside world? Increased stress, fatigue, and frustration with your normal daily activities can indicate cognitive overload is affecting your actions.

This brain-monitoring 3D printed dress embedded with screens creates a technologically mediated dialogue between the wearer of the dress and their surroundings. At the manufacturing level, the dress components were designed in PTC’s Onshape cloud-native product development platform and 3D-printed by HP Inc using Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution. The manufacturing required the use of HP HR 3D PA12 W material, a form of nylon, ideal for engineering-grade, white, quality functional production parts.

The 3D printed components were very light, like nothing I ever experienced before, and perfect for a dress like this, as you don’t want to have heavy parts filled with technology being hosted on your body. It was a perfect match of materiality and design,” said Wipprecht.

She continues: “The other cool thing about HP’s new PA12 W prints is that their white parts stay white and don’t discolor over time like some other prints I’ve worked with. They have an outstanding shelf-life stability; I experienced no changes in color or mechanical properties after testing. The prints stay white consistently and have a nice light refraction and a great strength.”

When fashion reaches a new frontier: NeuroTech

Fashion becomes a new kind of interconnection, one controlled by subconscious signals from the wearer’s brain. These signals are picked up using a new cutting-edge EEG sensor that forms a wearable brain-computer interface. The interface uses machine-learning to determine the mental workload of the wearer. The workload is then reflected in real time on the six circular displays flaring out from the dress’s sculpted neckpiece. As the wearer’s mental workload increases towards saturation, each display shows an iris and pupil dilating wider and wider. This creates an alienesque spectacle of eyes around the wearer.

The EEG sensor is a new 4-channel BCI headset, called Unicorn Headband, developed by NeuroTech company g.tec with the help of the designer. The machine-learning software that estimates mental workload is tuned to each wearer during a two-minute training session when they first wear the dress.

With electronics becoming smaller and smaller, the possibilities became endless at the beginning of this century. What I have been trying to do for the past 20 years is to connect our bodies to electronics, robotic (fashion) design and wearable interfaces. However, what does it mean when we can connect technological-expressive garments to our bodies, body-signals and even emotions? What dialogues can we trigger? This is what I am exploring with designs like these,” says Wipprecht.

With this project, Wipprecht is going beyond the fashion industry and produces a deliverable that can help neuroscientists in their field of activity.

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