When someone invades your personal space, an inner battle between discomfort and good manners often ensues. Not so for the wearers of Anouk Wipprecht's Projection Map, Matrix and Shield dresses, which monitor your personal space and are adorned with LEDs which light up to attract or repel people nearby.
This new collection of smart dresses by the Dutch designer was commissioned by Audi to promote its new A4 by integrating parts of the car's exterior and tech into the design.
Like the Smart Spider dress Wipprecht designed for Intel at this year's CES, this batch of high fashion tech focuses on the proximity of passerby to the garment.
While the Spider dress tracked biometric signals to determine the wearer's mood, the new 3D printed shield dresses - in black and white - rework Audi's ultrasonic Rangefinder sensors to track nearby humans instead of cars.
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The 20-watt LEDs on the dresses have been programmed to increase in brightness as a person moves from a social distance to a more intimate one.
The Matrix dress, inspired by Audi's Matrix headlights, uses 60-watt LEDs to emit light to either attract people or repel them with the unexpected brightness.
The Projection Map dress is less concerned with interpersonal space and more interested in self expression. Inspired by the A4's Virtual Cockpit, it allows the wearer to interact with the smart clothing by projecting light patterns onto the floor and ceiling.
"You go into the notion of having a system that you can embed that might be able to sense things around you, around objects, around a vehicle but also be able to sense you as a person or a driver or a wearer," said Wipprecht. "I think the notion of virtual reality nowadays is embedded too much into the computer, into the screen."
Wipprecht's smart dresses are never the most practical but they certainly are beautiful - in this case the designer points to her use of diamond shapes to link the collection to Audi vehicle design.
The Projection Map, Matrix and Shield dresses are being showcased at Audi showrooms in Berlin, London, Milan and Beijing.
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