Brainwise is a hat that reads the users brainwaves and projects their
brain activity on top of their head. We call it a thinking cap.

The motivation for our project is the augmentation of human experience
through wearable physiological technology. We wish to bring something
private, namely our thoughts and emotions, and broadcast them to the
world. Future applications for this kind of technology can be in
self-monitoring of stress and other physiological signs, but also in
communication. Especially as much of our daily communication is moving
away from face-to-face contact, we need new ways of expressing and
transmitting our emotions to our peers.

This prototype has two capacitive custom-made EEG sensors for reading the
users brainwaves.  It includes also three RGB LEDs, which are connected to
light fibre to cover the top of the hat with colors. Arduino Lilypad is
used to analyze the EEG signal and drive the LEDs. Alpha brain wave
activity is analyzed, they are brain waves between 8 and 13 Hz. Alpha
activity is interpreted as relaxation. Alpha power is also considered to
be inversely related to active cognitive processing. Because of this we
use it as a measure of relaxation and activation, visualized on a scale
from blue to red.

According to some experiments, frontal EEG asymmetry is a sign of negative
emotion, or distress. We measure this by comparing the Alpha power from
the two sides and adding green to the visualization if there is a
difference between the sides.

We have some plans for a second version, so stay tuned!

This project was made by Metti Nordin and Valtteri Wikström for the
Wearable Electronics course at Aalto Media Factory in the fall of 2011.

Sound Gloves

photo taken by Y-J Lin.

Our project, Sound Gloves (2011), initiated with a goal to create a sound performance that explore the ideas of movement space, performance space, performer gesture, and performer-audience interactions. This project results with three different pairs of gloves musical instruments, Touch Sound Gloves, Castanet Gloves, and Theremin Gloves.

The electronic parts in Sound Gloves are used in simple configurations. The parts include piezos, accelerometer sensors, ultrasonic range finder sensors, potentiometers, thin speakers, LilyPad, Polymer Lithium Ion batteries, 3-volt Lithium coin cell batteries, audio power amplifier circuits with LM368, and conductive threads. The use of conductive threads caused too much resistance to power, thus wire was replaced instead of conductive threads for the connection between the amplifier and the speakers.

The first public performance, Sound Gloves Impro 1, was presented in Muu Gallery. This performance was organised as a structured improvisation for three performers, who were also project members involved throughout the design process. After the performance, all three performers felt very engaged in the performance. The freedom to able to walk around into the audience area, allowed direct physical interaction with the audience. The performers were able to make eye contact and exchange smiles with the audience. These small connections somehow made the performance experience more inviting and engaging. Future works considered include exploring other techniques to improve the sound aspect.

Performance Garment concept

Our wearable project takes its inspiration from the sculptural, mobile body of the dancer Alpo Aaltokoski. We have designed a garment, which, in a combination of human and animal hair suggests a beginning of a story. In addition, the garment is embedded with a number of sensors and motorized elements, which augment the boundaries of the dancer’s body and its mobility. The resulting collaborative work is an exploration into materiality and movement, feedback circuits between the human body and computing, and the use of electrically enhanced textile constructions for sensing the body.




Opodiphthera Incognita

by Matti Niinimäki & Emmi Pouta

[We are still hoping to get some better images or video from somewhere]

The Concept

Opodiphthera Incognita is a dress that changes its color and shape when the user feels threatened. It is not meant to be an actual method of self-defense, but more of a conceptual garment that plays with the idea of shape shifting and primal reactions.

Using Flexinol Wire

Flexinol wire – or muscle wire – is wire that contracts or goes back to a certain shape when it is heated. This effect can be used to create controllable linear motion by heating the wire with electricity. The muscle wire we used was Flexinol 0.010″ diameter high temperature wire from Robotshop. It needs to be heated to 90 °C to activate it.

The wire required about 1 A of current to contract. This meant that we had to use approximately 60 cm long pieces of the wire with our 11.1 V Li-Po battery.

We had a lot of problems trying to figure out the best way to attach the flexinol wire to actually get decent movement with textiles. Paper was much easier since it holds its shape better and can be guided to move in certain way by folding it.

In the end, a zig-zag pattern with tight stitches in the ends and loose stitches in between seemed to be the best way to do it. Although, we weren’t totally happy with that either and only managed to get two small moving pieces for the final dress.

Using Thermochomic Pigments

Usually, thermochromic inks are painted or printed straight to the textile surface, but we wanted to try something different. We painted some red silk yarn with the thermochromic pigment and then used the yarn to weave our own textiles. Black thermochromic pigment was mixed with some silk screen paste to create the ink. The black pigment did not actually come out as black when mixed with the red color of the yarn, but more of a darker red or purple. This turned out to be a nice accident since the dark red was quite beautiful.

We experimented with different kinds of weaving patterns.

We also wove some resistance wire into the fabric that was used as the heating element to change the color. We used resistance wire since we did not have the proper conductive thread with small enough resistance rating.

In the final dress, we had three color-changing strips of fabric with four loops of resistance wire embedded in them. Each length of resistance wire drew roughly 600 mA so in total the color-changing part of the dress drew about 2.4 amps. The total current consumption of the entire dress peaked at about 3.5 amps, so we weren’t really comfortable having anyone actually wearing the dress just in case something had gone wrong.

Muu Gallery Presentation

We had some bad luck when transporting the dress to Muu Gallery and the connections to the resistance wires broke. It seemed to be impossible to solder the resistance wire and the connections were made with some crimp beads. That seemed to work at first, but they actually broke when we took the dress of the mannequin. We were able to fix some of the connections, but in the end, parts of the dress did not change color at the Muu Gallery.

We also did not have time to finish the hood so that it could be moved and used to trigger the movement and color change. We had it set on a timed loop instead.

In the end, we did not quite reach our ambitious goal, but the dress itself looked very beautiful and still changed color and moved slightly. The materials we picked were very challenging to use, but we learned a lot while trying to figure them out.


Concept, design, costumes, and direction: Forrest Oliphant, Liisa Pesonen, Hannele Romppanen
Dancers: Helena Romppanen & Minja Mertanen

Impulse/Control is a game-based dance performance. The performance is based on two arcade controllers operated by the leaders, and two dancers — the Samurai Sisters. The control boxes trigger vibrating pressure in different parts of the dancers’ costumes. These vibration signals are like a push — the push is an impulse, a motivating force that invites the dancer to action. The false duality of social dance’s lead and follow is deconstructed in the performance. These roles are not black and white, as the followers have free will to improvise with the impulses. The rules and goals of play are malleable, so this game has infinite variations and outcomes.

Photos: Jere Saarelainen


The ideation of the costumes started one month before the Demo-day 5.12. in Muu Galleria.

In this point Forrest and Hannele had put already a lot of thought to the over all concept and how the garments should work with the dancers so I felt I was jumping in to quite ready thought project.

We had a meeting about the possible design and after that I felt that I had quite open hands for the look of the costumes.

For the vibration motors, we thought of making some kind of vests for the dancers that could be worn also by anyone in the audience. So because of this quite early the ideation went to asian type solutions with kimonos, hakamas and a lot of wrapping.

Also since the idea was to make the dancers wired to the control boxes, we already got the idea of making tales for the dancers.

For inspiration I looked for pictures of Samurais, Hakamas, agent bird lizards, artificial anatomy and games like Street Fighter and Pacman

I started looking for materials and making of the outfits on 21.11.

We decided to make the two dancers as Samurai Sisters. In this all of our thoughts of the concept and design connected really well. As colors we chose only black and white.


We were not too concerned by the static electricity since our electronics were so simplified so we had only artificial materials like polyester, lycra, mesh and light curtain.

For the vests I looked for materials that would be very soft so that the vibration would not spread around the garments but that would also work as an armor. For the black outfit I found some neoprene-style fabric from the costume studio and for the white one I bought fabric that is used under tablecloth to keep it still. For both materials I did a lot of stitching with sewing machine to give more consistent look and so that I would be able to make stitches through all the material layers in the end when needed. The end result was very cool when the materials started to look like muscles.


The pattern making for the kimono-style vest was the most hardest part in making of the garments. I found some difficulties in making a fitting pattern for very small female dancers, but that could be tested also by the audience and by us ourselves.

We changed the boxes for the vibration motors from Kinder boxes to dental floss boxes cause they had better shape.

Anyways I had to put a lot of consideration so that the boxes would have enough space but still be pressed on the body and that they would not move during the performance. I made one prototype that was not yet wired but allowed dancers to start practicing with it.

We also did few changes to the patterns by the problems we noticed in the prototype.

We wanted to make the electronics removable from the outfit since it was easier to work that way in a short schedule and that any part could be changed in the last days if needed. Forrest could build the wiring and all the control parts and I could concentrate on the outfits. Luckily I also got help for sewing and cutting from Hannele, and our seamstress Anne.

In both of the vests we made holes for the LEDs of the vibration boxes. For attaching the boxes and to get the small LEDs through the holes we used velcro. Velcro was on the inside of the vests and also on the surface of each boxes around the LED. In the end velcro was very useful in many parts of the vests for adjusting and making it more wearable. In many parts of the inside of the vest I used construction that is familiar from sportwear.

In the end result I was very pleased with. The outfits were working really well and beautifully but we also got knowledge about what to do in another way.

Our performance in Muu Gallery was very beautiful and inspiring for designing more wearable electronics.