Precedence Research - Jen Liu

Made by Jen Liu

Background research for MTI Final project

Created: September 28th, 2015


Hairware is a research project by Katia Vega (post-doctoral fellow at MIT), Marcio Cunha(Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro), and Hugo Fuks (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro). As a beauty technologist, Vega has designed other projects that incorporate beauty accessories with wearable technology, such as conductive false eyelashes that can sense blink rates and RFID fingernails that use control magnetic switches. With Hairware, the research team created conductive hair extensions that respond to capacitive touch. Depending on how the user interacts with their hair (such as by twirling) they can send different messages via mobile phone to another person. This work is interesting in how devices can be incorporated into social interactions in a “seamless” way by embedding them into pre-existing beauty products.


Hövding is a Swedish company that make inflatable airbag helmets. It was started by two master’s students, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, as their thesis for Industrial Design. Their initial design question was if they could re-design head safety gear so that people would want to wear it whether they had to or not. Concerns regarding traditional helmets included bulkiness and inconvenience on a daily basis, along with not providing the appropriate protection against more serious accidents. By re-imagining the concept of what a protective object for your head would look like, they created the idea of an inflatable shell that would be worn around the neck and would be triggered based on sensors. An algorithm was created that would sense the differences between normal use and when the wearer is in an accident.


Menstruation Machine is a design fiction project by Sputniko! (Hiromi Ozaki). A menstruation simulator belt was created which dispenses blood and applies pressure to the lower abdomen as a way to question how menstruation and women’s health is viewed in our society. The artist was interested in the political, social and cultural backgrounds that influence our sexual health, such as how fast ED pills like Viagra for males get passed by health organizations versus contraceptive pills for females. A video was also created in which a transvestite boy wears the Menstruation Machine as a way to understand the female body beyond the visual transformation of applying makeup and wearing feminine clothes.

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Background research for MTI Final project