The Cape That Morphs When Somebody Checks You Out

Blushing cheeks and shifting shoulders. Locking knees and eyebrows with minds of their own. Weird sweats. Our bodies respond to the world around us before we even realize what’s going down, and our clothes just try to keep up. After all, who hasn’t had to deal with an intense armpit wedgie or two after running into an ex?

But Behnaz Farahi is changing the game. Using a 3D printer and oodles of cool technology, she makes clothing designed to “make the wearer more aware of their environment.” In other words, the clothes respond to the world around them. But don’t think she’s making t-shirts that will magically turn into umbrellas at the first drop of rain (although that’d be nice too). Instead she makes beautiful, intricate pieces that react according to someone’s gaze, thought, and proximity.

Her latest piece,”Caress of the Gaze,” is a poncho covered in 3D printed quills, arranged into various circles and swirls. They bristle and flex according to whoever’s looking at them, so a visit to grandma’s will cause it to respond much differently than, say, a meeting with your cute weed guy. Beneath the quills is a microcontroller — aka a very fancy camera — that in a totally non-creepy turn of events, watches the viewer back. It calculates their age and gender and causes the garment to respond accordingly, although there’s no word yet on just how these reactions will differ.

This is only the latest in a long line of unique projects. Farahi, a USC student, has worked on a variety of pieces which comment on a human being’s relationship to the space around them. Previous projects include “Synapse,” a very Cerebro-esque helmet controlled by synapse firings in the brain, and “Ruff,” which is… an interactive neck ruff.


Sadly there’s no word on any wide spread releases, but we can’t help but fantasize about what the world would be like if these babies went global. Would a poncho expose all your crushes, no matter how weird? Would your father finally tell you he loves you through a shake of the helmet? Could a well placed ruff tell the weird guy at the bar to fuck off for you? We can only imagine the possibilities. In time, we can’t wait to see what strange, beautiful creations Farahi will come up with next.

All images via Behnaz Farahi

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