Anouk Wipprecht's 3D-Printed Bio-Monitoring HeartBeatDress Makes the Hidden Visible

This skeletal sci-fi dress, created in partnership with Swarovski, picks up the wearer's heartbeat to drive a light-and-sound show.

Gareth Halfacree
a month ago β€’ 3D Printing / Art / Sensors / Wearables

Dutch designer of fashionable technology and technological fashion Anouk Wipprecht has partnered with crystal maker Swarovski to create a dress designed to broadcast the wearer's heartbeat to all using a combination of sound and light: the HeartBeatDress.

"At the dawn of this Modern Age, technology has given us the flexibility to investigate endless opportunities with electronics that have become smaller and smaller," Wipprecht says of her latest creation. "Over the past 20 years, I've been connecting our bodies to electronics and integrate this through robotic fashion design. What does it mean when we can connect technological-expressive garments to our bodies, body signals, and even emotions?"

The HeartBeatDress combines 3D-printed couture with embedded biosensing capabilities. (πŸ“Ή: Anouk Wipprecht)

Created using 3D printing, the exterior of the dress evokes spinal columns and collarbones – putting what would normally be hidden on the inside of the wearer on full display. That's key to its technological purpose: Sensors which monitor the wearer's heartbeat, using the data to drive a feedback system with light and sound.

"It's almost like you have goosebumps, you cannot control it, or you start to be red in your face," Wipprecht explains. "In the purest form, you're able to broadcast your emotions. If you are wearing your heartbeat on your sleeve, it is a really pure thing. It also gets you in a lot of really awkward situations that lend itself to observation of new expressions from an interactive design aspect."

The sensing platform was prototyped using the Biopac MP40, a low-cost platform designed to introduce physiological sensing to K12 students. "By using systems like this, you can develop more cost-effectively and rapidly," Wipprecht explains. "Especially within the biomedical fields of where manufacturing costs are exorbitant. Besides, it's always great to see new reliable biomedical technology being brought to the open-source and open hardware scene.

"Working with the body is super interesting, as you can take a lot of data from it and put it to amazing interactions. Like in this case – fashion becomes an interface – something that communicates something maybe 'hidden' from you."

"I try to envision how technology can move away from being the overwhelming force it is today. I ask myself: when and if technology is living on the body, what does it do? How does it react or interact? How can it be an interface and express something new? How can it help us do things we cannot do ourselves?

"My interest is in finding the extra capabilities fashion can give to the body to enhance communication in a non-verbal way," Wipprecht continues. "We are so used to looking on our 'screens.' Technology came into our lives to help us and create convenience, but nowadays, it often ends up overwhelming us instead. So how can it help us get closer to ourselves again?"

The HeartBeatDress was created during Wipprecht's residency with Swarovski, and features in musician Chrystabell's latest release. "The video clip 'The Suicide Moonbeams' has the intention of opening the heart and the dimensional portal," claims Melana Abramov, director and producer of the video.

"FashionTech is an important part of the sacred conscious clothing of our future. The HeartBeatDress that Anouk created, electronic frequencies and lyrics from Chrystabell and visuals all melt together in harmony."

More information on Wipprecht's work can be found on her website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles