This new design just took the phrase "wearable tech" to a whole new level, one that basically makes Iron Man's famous suit a reality.
In January 2013, Dutch fashiontech designer Anouk Wipprecht released her design for a mechanical Spider Dress. The dress itself was kind of an avant-garde take on the little black dress, but the main attraction were these robotic epaulets that looked like spider legs. They even moved like arachnid limbs, suddenly striking if someone got too close. As the blog Fashioning Tech wrote about the dress, "The performative garment deals with themes of "personal space" and raises questions concerning control and privacy."
Now Wipprecht has brought the Spider Dress back and made it better than ever. Fashionistas and techies alike will love the update, which trades black for a stunning ivory and has even more technological goodies in store.
For one, Wipprecht used 3-D printing to create a boney bodice that looks like an artistic representation of a skeleton. And as for those crazy epaulets? Of course they make an appearance on this dress, too. This time, they're connected to proximity sensors that use Intel's Edison chip, designed to make it easier for makers to have their products do all of these fancy technological things, which makes the legs move when someone gets near the dress. There's also a respiration sensor in this update, which sets off the legs worn on the shoulders when it detects the wearer's respiration increasing. Basically, if anyone even lays a finger on you, they better watch out.
"Approach the wearer aggressively and the mechanical limbs move up to an attack position," according to the description of the dress that accompanies a video of it in action on Vimeo. "Approach the system under calmer circumstance and the dress just might beckon you to come closer with smooth, suggestive gestures."
If those big, black orbs along the sides of the dress remind you of one of the creepy million or so eyes spiders have, that's exaclty the kind of feeling they're meant to evoke. Those balls are equipped with LED lights that also flash as a warning sign if someone gets too near or produce a warm glow as an invitation to come closer.
This kind of high-tech, high-concept design is basically Wipprecht's M.O. In the past, she has created dresses that conduct electricity, make cocktails and become more and more transparent as the wearer's heart rate increases. Wipprecht will debut her updated Spider Dress at CES 2015 next month, and I'm sure it won't be the last time we'll see her there.