The Scentsory Chameleon Bodysuit prototypes, is a collaborative project that I personally worked on in 2004 and were presented at Wired Magazine’s ‘NextFest’ in San Francisco. My research collaborators were Jenny Tillotson, as well as Frederic Zenhausern and Ghassan E. Jabbour. Frederic Zenhausern is the head of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. His research specializes in the development of technologies that replicate human senses. Ghassan Jabbour is a professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering and a technical area leader for the technical area leader for the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University.
The Scentsory Chameleon bodysuits presented at NextFest in 2004 were prototypes, because the complex technology for these garments was and is still under development. One bodysuit was designed for military personnel, and the other was for aesthetic or healthful purposes. To quote from the presentation given at NextFest: ‘The Scentsory Chameleon biometric bodysuit explores mimicking camouflage techniques and chemical warfare in the animal kingdom by printing microfluidic optical devices onto multi-sensorial clothing. The end result is to promote wellness, safety and protection focusing on smell, light, color therapy/communication and the impact they have on health, human performance and security.’
The military version has built-in pathogen detectors, a fuel cell and a flexible electroluminescent display worn on the wrist. It could monitor the health of a soldier, relay information to medics if needed, and even detect and react to biological agents such as anthrax. The other version of the bodysuit, which is primarily made from clear vinyl and white plastic, carries fluid pouches and a network of microfluidic devices, tubes, and pumps. In principle, this biometric bodysuit could deliver a perfume scent in response to elevated heartbeat or respiration. It also could be used for health purposes. For instance, a diabetic could receive insulin injections through small needles that protrude from the textile when health sensors determine that the person needs insulin.
My work in the Sensory Chameleon project inspired me to create other garments that could have embedded technologies for health purposes. I believe that fashion designers have an important responsibility to inspire creative thinking about the future of fashion and technology.
These photographs were taken by US-based fashion and editorial photographer, Chris Loomis.