The Pangolin Scales Project is the latest design from Dutch fashion tech designer Anouk Wipprecht, in collaboration with the Institute for Integrated Circuits at JKU, and the brain-computer interface experts from g.tec medical engineering GmbH. The dress was inspired by the pangolin — a scaley mammal found in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and is thought to be responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Viral outbreaks aside, the garment highlights ultra-low energy, high-resolution BCI (brain-computer interface) that’s purportedly sensitive enough that a wearer could think about moving a finger, and the interface could identify which one, without needing invasive implants.
Wipprecht created the dress using 1,024 individual head-mounted electrodes, which are grouped into 64 groups of 16, giving the appearance of pangolin scales. The data garnered from the sensors are combined, analyzed, and then converted into signals that power 32 NeoPixels and 32 servo-powered scales. In essence, the Pangolin dress visualizes what the wearer is thinking using lighting ques and subtle actuation.
A single-channel custom chip is connected to each electrode mounted on the head, which integrates an amplifier, an analog-to-digital converter, and a digital signal processor, all drawing less than 5W of power. Subsequently, they can be powered by a nearby base station via RFID, and even send data wirelessly back to the station. It also eliminates the need for the dress to be tethered or the need for bulky battery packs. Wipprecht unveiled the Pangolin dress at this year’s (2020) Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria.