The “Mood Dress” concept was born when a father simply asked his daughter what invention she would like to create.
Understanding the power of creativity and invention as a motivational learning process, the father, Andrew Stapleton, wanted to inspire his 8 year old daughter, Ashley, to dream big and boldly invent a new technology.
Ashley’s invention was a mood dress that could respond to the wearer’s mood, and visually display it on the dress.
The task, then, was to turn Ashley’s dreams into reality.
After Ashley’s had sketched her initial design, the next task was determining exactly “how” to determine “mood”.
Ultimately, three separate design elements were used; a hacked off the shelf EEG unit to measure brain activity, a pulse sensor for physical activity, and an accelerometer to measure movement in 3-dimensional space. These were visually represented on the dress using LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) called “neopixels”.
During each step of the process the design was evaluated against original design intent.
Apart from time initially spent hacking and capturing the EEG data, plus lead time to receive some components that took up to a week, the construction of the dress itself took 5 days (including some late nights!).
The core purpose of Ashley’s “mood dress” project was to turn a child’s dream into reality, and along the way involve her in the design new technological innovation.
The project exposed her to the various successes, failures and compromises along the way and provided her with insight to how technology is created, and not just consumed.
In all, the project, one of creativity and invention, was also a deep and rich learning experience, and demonstrates the power of learning by making.
We’d love to hear from you.
If you have comments, questions or suggestions about the mood dress…
want to share you own cool innovations (especially of you’re a kid)…
or you’re interested in how projects like the mood dress can promote learning (especially if you’re an adult)
… then feel free to drop us a line.