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I'm Jasmine, a mechanical design engineer, author-illustrator, and maker. I'm passionate about combining art, storytelling, and technology to engage people with STEM. To that end, I've done everything from helping design steampunk-themed game arenas for robots with FIRST, to designing whimsical paper and cardboard-based robots, to writing a STEM-based comic.
As part of the Air Quality Projects here on DesignSpark, I have been looking into visualizing the effect of the air we breathe in, so let me introduce you to the concept of the Breathing Dress.
What will your lungs look like in 10 years if you live in smoggy LA? What about the pristine mountain air of the Alps? This concept for an LED-enabled dress paints a portrait of your current lung health, but more importantly, lets you peer into the future to see what your lungs will look like if you keep breathing what you're breathing today.
Concept images & sketches:
- Concept 1 - 3D-printed bubble diffusers mimic lung alveolar sacs; twirl body to "fast forward" a year into the future.
- Concept 2 - Geometric panels with a diffuser overlay to create a lung-like pattern; tap the heart to "fast forward".
- Concept 3 - Life expectancy shown more concretely as the number of LEDs lit up
Key Materials / BOM:
- Adafruit Flora
- Concept 1: Adafruit Flora Neopixels (sewable)
- Concept 2: Flexible LED panels or multiple LED strips
- Concept 3: LED strips
- Misc - conductive thread, wires, battery pack etc.
Air quality sensors don't tell a story about what cumulative damage and long-term lung health looks like. This project focuses on the temporal aspect, allowing users to turn the dress into a time machine and see how lung health deteriorates or improves with time. The LED pattern doesn't merely reflect the current air quality — it reflects current and future lung health.
To accommodate my travel schedule, I've designed the project to fit into a shoebox. The travel becomes part of the story — the places I go and the air I breathe paint a portrait of my long-term health.
- Poor air quality causes cumulative, long-term damage to the body, while good air quality gives a chance for lungs to recover.
- Sensors that measure current air quality don't tell us what present air conditions mean for our future. What do all my activities (travel, living in different countries, exposing myself to various particulate matter) mean for me in the future? What is the story of my own health?
- The dress will monitor air quality at all times, with the light pattern changing to reflect the current health of the lungs. It will allow the wearer to fast forward, to "see" what their future lung health looks like if current air quality conditions remain the same.