Progress: form, fabric, questions

This week I focused mostly on construction of the jacket. I went to Spandex World and bought 1 yard of neoprene and 1 yard of a faux leather. To make a harder look, I wanted to have the sleeves be leather and the chest be neoprene, especially since the neoprene is very soft and gives a sensation like a hug.


To construct the jacket I used the jacket I used last week, which is a long sleeved shirt made out of jersey material. Since I wasn’t sure how to make a pattern, and didn’t find sufficient information by searching the internet, I just used the parts of the shirt. I then cut the neoprene into the different parts.



After I had the torso, I used the same method on the faux leather to make the sleeves. After I pinned and sewed them, I sewed the sleeves onto the neoprene.




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Although I still have a lot to do, I am happy with these results. What I learned from this experience is that I might need to consider using a third material for where the vibration motors will be. I made a new pressure sensor with a vibration motor and then sewed in a small enclosure into the inside of the jacket.

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I thought about also having other sensors triggered by closing the circuit with another jacket. Ideally, I will make two jackets that will somehow interact with each other. I considered using exposed conductive velcro, but this would mean that that placement of the velcro is crucial in order to be sure the vibration motors are triggered.

Progress: magnets + vibration + form

This week I worked a lot with how my garment would look on the body and thought about how it would feel. Last week I picked up some swatches from Mood, and I believe it will end up being a very soft, squishy neoprene material. I wanted to first lay out how it would look on the body and how a person would wear it. I took a long-sleeved shirt and decided to use that to cut out what I wanted, which I would later construct using the final material.

I want there to be a focus on the shoulders and chest. I haven’t envisioned this to be a full jacket, but something closer to a cropped jacket. I cut out the material from the top buttons down. I like the idea of keeping the buttons, as it could give me a better sense on how the final product will be put on and worn.




Once I had a jacket that I liked, I thought about adding another piece of fabric to be meant for an enclosure for the vibration motors. This also gave me more ideas about how I could design it to have more personality.


After this I played around with the placement of magnets in the sleeves. I had bought two types of magnets, and I just taped them to the sleeves to test the placement.



Then I wanted to see if I could a circuit going using magnets. I used an LED as the output here and a reed switch to sense the magnetism. It took me some time but I got it working. So happy!

Then I switched out the LED and put a vibration motor as the output.


The speculative future’s got me thinking

For the past 6 months I’ve woken up with a knot in my stomach. Either related to the impossibility of finishing all of my assignments by the time that they’re due, given the time we are given. Or the fear I’ll never understand the brains of people who understand code. Am I this person or that person? What am I good at becomes a question of who am I? A question I thought was solved through so many yoga classes, through so many scribbled in notebooks. We’re back to that question. But this time the question is followed by how did I get here? How did I make it to a floor, a room rather, filled with overflowing energy to ask the right questions, and create the things we need in the world. On days when I want to pound my computer into the ground, because I don’t understand how the fuck everyone understands the code on the screen, but me, I am reminded that not too long ago I believed I was stuck. I was stuck in an environment that was telling me I was good at something without giving me anything to prove I was. I was stuck in believing I could never get out of that situation. Until I believed I could be unstuck. In fact, I could re-believe in something completely and utterly impossible. In the midst of borderline panic attacks, and spurts of euphoria when my code finally does what I want, I peel myself away from the screen and observe the beauty within learning. Learning and trying, and failing, and questioning everything, and trying anything. For the 6 months I’ve woken up with a knot in my stomach, I think back in the 5 years I stood in front of a revolving classroom of students who believed I was more of a teacher than I ever believed for myself. In moments when I gaze around the floor and ask myself how did I get here I think back to all of the students I met, all the people who inspired me, and all the conversations that were had. And then when I find myself making a weird video about the speculative future, I think we have no idea how much our lives can change if we change our minds and have the courage to try. 

MUSCLE ITP 2016: Speculative Design

 Statement about the future

“We will grow from three to eight billion connected humans, adding five billion new consumers into the global economy” (

“The screen as we know it—on your phone, your computer and your TV—will disappear and be replaced by eyewear” (

With this said, in the future the screen will be nowhere and everywhere. We will be more connected than ever through evolved social media platforms that began in the 2000s. Our connectivity will be embedded in us at birth. We will be embedded with an identification chip at birth that is much like a social security number.

This number will be the way in which people will be able to connect with you. In order to connect with a specific person you need their identification number which can be triggered by the sensor in the chest or in the wrist. The sensor in the chest gives a person more information about a person, and implies a more intimate relationship. Whereas the sensor in the wrist is sent to people who are acquaintances, or strictly professional relationships. Once you have the identification information of a person you can connect to them by performing a specific series of gestures.

We will see the internet through our own eyes. This will be done through contact lenses. Your internet service and data package will depend on the eye contact lens you purchase.

Who: This technology will be for everyone living in and after the year of 2200.

What: A chip injected behind the ear of a newborn baby. Two sensors implanted in the chest and the wrist. The chip and sensors function in a person for the entirety of their lives, but once a person is of 10 years old they are eligible for holographic contact lenses that enable holographic access to what people of the 2000s refer to as the internet.

When: Identity chips begin to be implanted in implants starting in 2170. By the year 2200, everyone has identity chips and sensors in their wrists and chest.

Why: As predicted in the year of 2016, screens will disappear in the future and people will be more connected then ever. In an effort to bring the body back to our everyday movements, the body will become the center of how we communicate.

How: All hospitals will be federally funded and healthcare will be universally provided for everyone living on planet Earth. Hospitals will require elite equipment in order to perform such delicate and powerful surgeries.

Storyboard: The storyboard below shows the process of which a person is initially embedded with a chip and two sensors that will allow them to communicate throughout their life. At birth, a baby has a chip embedded behind their ear, which serves as their individual identification. This identification number is how people are contacted and tracked throughout their lives. Two sensors are also embedded in the wrist and chest. These sensors activate communication between people. The wrist sensor is for connecting with someone who is an acquaintance, or someone from a professional setting. Whereas activating the chest sensor is for people you are more connected with emotionally, i.e, a family member or best friend.

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Gestural language:


Stage 1 relationship: This relationship is between two people who want to connect as acquaintances or in a professional setting.  This connection is activated through the wrist sensor of each person. Each person must press their wrist, where their sensor is located, for 10 seconds. Once the connection is made, they are able to connect with each other by following the gestural commands.

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Stage 2 relationship: This relationship is between two people who want to connect on a more emotional level. Examples of this relationship are close friends, family members, and more intimate relationships. This connection is activated through the chest sensor of each person. When people are ready to take their relationship to stage 2, they press themselves together in a hug for 20 seconds.

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Simulation of holographic technology


David, like all people in the year 2200, has a identity chip behind his ear, a sensor in his wrist and another in his chest. This all happened to David right after he was born in 2170, as he was one of the first groups of infants to be embedded with the new technology. David has only lived in a device-less world and only knows a screen to be one in which he projects by a gesture using his chip. Shortly after learning to speak David was taught the universal gestural language all people in 2200 understand and use to communicate with each other virtually.

From the time he was born until his 10th birthday, David could only project holographic images programmed and monitored by his parents. Once he turned 10 years old, however, he became eligible for contact lenses that allow him to project holographic images of virtually anything he could imagine. If he had a question about anything, he would simply hover his hand over his chip and make a gesture to project the answer in front of him.

David meets people all the time in the physical world, but doesn’t make a connection with them unless he chooses to activate one of his two sensors. If he activates his wrist sensors, this sends a signal to his identity chip that the relationship is formal, i.e. the relationship between acquaintances, colleagues, etc. One day when he is out he meets a nice girl named Yun. They hit off and want to continue talking in the future, therefore they decide to connect on a Stage 1 relationship. This is a relationship that enables both parties to communicate using their holographic capabilities, but it indicates that it’s not an emotional relationship.

After some time talking, David and Yun decide to take their relationship to Stage 2, which means they are close friends, or intimate partners. To activate this relationship, they must press the sensors in the chest together in the form of a hug for 20 seconds.

In stage 2 relationship, David and Yun can not only contact each other virtually, but they can virtually teleport to the location of one another. They no longer have to tell each other about their days and experiences through verbal communication, as they can simply bring each other to the location of each other. If their relationship grows stronger, they are even able to physically swap places through virtual teleportation.


Lembra: Midterm

I made a few significant changes since the last time I presented my app. One major thing is that I changed the colors to make it more simple, but approachable. I added the ability for people to add more dictionaries of languages they are learning. This would be useful at a place like ITP, or even living in New York City in general, where you are constantly meeting and surrounded by people from other countries. You learn a word here and there and this app gives you a secure place to record those words to practice in the future.

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Switching gears: hugs

This past week a lot of changes have occurred. Lindsey and I spent all of Friday and Sunday fabricating and building a circuit for our idea to have a jacket that produces sounds based on movement. It was possibly after having a physical form of the idea that I felt personally underwhelmed with the overall concept. The moment I began thinking about this I talked to Lindsey who understood my concern. This led to us thinking about other project ideas and contemplating the idea of going our separate ways with the project.

I spent the past few days thinking about what I want to get of wearables, who I want to design for, and trying to free myself from feeling creatively blocked. After speaking with Despina on Monday I started thinking about what I believe to be one of my strengths, the ability to make people feel comfortable. As a teacher this was something that allowed me to connect with many students from various cultural backgrounds and ages, and ultimately allowed them to trust me. Having my students trust me meant that they felt safe to try new things, make mistakes, and boost their academic self-esteem. This got me thinking, how can I create a wearable that did something similar.

This led to paths of many different ideas. I thought about Temple Grandin, one of the most famous autistic women of the 20th century, who not only revolutionized how cattle were slaughtered, but also invented her personal “hug box”. This idea for her invention was triggered after she saw that when cattle were frightened, they would be put inside of a type of machine that would squeeze them to calm them down. This resonated with Temple, as an autistic person who couldn’t be physically touched, but felt the human need to be hugged in moments of panic, anxiety, and fear. This led me to research about wearables related to hugs, and boy are there a lot. Here are a few:

The jacket that inflates upon Facebook likes

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T Jacket: the jacket that calms and comforts kids

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The Hug Shirt: the shirt that sends hugs

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These leads to me to the direction I want to go in in this crazy hugging world. An aspect I am very interested in is why we need hugs and the cultural differences of hugs. This personal interest stems from my own experience:

As an American I grew up in a family that was loving, but not very affectionate. We hugged to say bye, sometimes, and kissed rarely. This was not rare among my friends and their families and growing up I thought it was strange to see “overly-affectionate” people in movies displaying their affection. As someone with some degree of anxiety being touched had become not just something I disliked, but something I anticipated in fear. However, two years my perspective of this changed drastically and after doing some hugging research I believe there could be some scientific proof as to why–

I began dating a Brazilian two years ago. Brazilian culture is very, very affectionate. Friends are like family. And people you meet once are even treated in a loving way. Everyone hugs. So many hugs. And you know what I learned rather quickly, it feels good! I can’t help but crack a huge smile when I get an unexpected hug, I even find something hugging in the middle of conversation. I believe it has a part of me allowing myself to be more vulnerable and open to new things. I want to explore this in my wearable project.

I began thinking about what I want my wearable to be and what I don’t want it to be. In order to do this I decided to go around and hug people. I chose 5 random people to hug and asked them how they felt before and after the hug.

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Interesting things I found: there were some cultural differences brought up in hugging that I am going to explore a bit deeper. This won’t be a main focus of my project, but something that’s helping to drive research and understand people’s responses to hugs. One of the main points I will focus on is the power of vulnerability in hugs, in that hugs make us feel more vulnerable, yet also make us feel safe and in turn refill confidence. It’s a moment between two people where one or both let each other be weak, while they trust the other will give them the strength they need. What I found interesting is that the more I went around and hugged people, the more excited I felt, and at the same time the more nervous I felt. By the last hug, I felt like I had a  lot of energy, and I was more enthusiastic sounding, yet while I was speaking to the huggee, my voice was shaking a bit.

Another experiment I did was ask someone to go around and hug other people. Renata was nice enough to be my hug model and she went around and gave people hugs.




I began building an initial prototype to understand the placement on the body and get a better sense of how this wearable would work. Something I considered was using a proximity sensor that when someone came closer, a part of the garment would inflate, or there would be some kind of soft and comfortable reaction in order to encourage someone to hug the other person.

I connected a proximity sensor to an Arduino Uno, then I found a black piece of fabric, which I cut and folded to make an enclosure. I sewed sections on it to play with the placement. Then I put the proximity sensor inside and read the values of when it go closer. To give the feeling I’m interested in giving, I took a memory foam pillow and cut it into squares then put that inside of the black fabric. To test this, I wore it over my shoulder and asked people to hug me to see how it felt.

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In thinking about how to explore an exchange of energy between two people I thought about using vibration. I made a soft pressure sensor with a vibration motor.


Week 4: fundamentals of music composition

This week was a mini-breakthrough for interactive music. I am definitely starting to understand more about the code and music. I spent a lot of time the past week just going over the in class examples, reading “Javascript: The Good Parts” and asking a lot of questions to understand class, methods, and prototypes. It also helped to visit The Active Space for our field trip in Bushwick. That was incredibly inspiring, and made me want to just go home and work. It was nice to hear people outside of a school environment talk about interactive music and to learn more about the work of Yotam. I felt like I left with a better grasp of what interactive music is, and how we can contribute to it.

Our assignment this week was to encapsulate our notes in a Function Object and give our object an expressive interface that we can use. What I decided to do was have a motif of “conflict + resolution”. My Function object is Resolution and my public methods are the types of ways in which people fight in order to come to a resolution.

I decided to represent this visually with lego men faces. Each facial expression represents notes that convey the personality of the person fighting. For example, the angry face is only given 3 notes that are lower and have a longer duration, whereas the scared-looking face has 12, which start low and go very high. While the “calm” smiling one has about half that amount of notes that sound more balanced and calm.

Once I got all of the notes to emulate the emotions of angry/aggressive, scared, and calm, I wanted to give the user the opportunity to play with the pitch of all three. I thought this would be a nice addition to simulate a type of argument that escalades and then eventually calms down to resolution. Often when we argue, depending on our mood, our voices get higher or lower, which is usually related to how irrational or logical we are being. I thought this would be a nice interaction for a user to experience.

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In order to do this I created a method inside of the constructor function that raises or lowers the octave. Then when I called this method inside of the button, I added a counter variable that would increase or decrease.

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Below is the final version.

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