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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Critical Corset

As a person's heart rate rises, the corset will tighten, automatically ensuring the practice of standing up taller by tightening the stomach and enhancing the chest, and indicating to the wearer, before they are cognitively aware, that they are attracted to someone.

Using a corset kindly donated by Femme-Fatale.dk this project has been developed to explore the the fascinating subject of attraction. How do we know when we are attracted to people? How does our body respond? What factors are present and how are they shaped by our surroundings?

How does the physiological effects of being attracted to someone translate into a tangible result, how can one be more aware of the moment of attraction? These questions were asked in the design of this concept – if a corset, which has been both celebrated and criticized throughout history, can indicate to the wearer that their heart rate has risen, what effect will that have on their social and physical behavior and the behavior of people around them?


Using a Polar Heart Rate monitor and receiver chip, the heart rate of the wearer was successfully interpreted using the Arduino board. If the wearer was relaxed and their heart rate rose above a certain level, they would feel the result as a tightening of the corset through the use of air being pumped into an inner lining in the corset. This would stay inflated, squeezing the user, until they became relaxed enough, and lowered their heart rate again, and would then deflate.

It is determined that the causation is disharmonious, it was difficult to tell if dancing, drinking caffeinated beverages, or simply ascending stairs could be outside causes of heart rate increasing. However, when stationary, and in close proximity to another, it was obvious to both individuals when the heart rate would rise or fall, as the pump could be heard starting.

Is conditioning possible with this wearable device? Would the wearer become so used to being squeezed when aroused that one could create a physical attraction, enabling the wearer to have a physical experience, the sensation of being squeezed gently, without the device at all? Would the wearer become more in tune with their body, would they learn to control heart rate, and eventually control their emotive and physiological states?

Many thanks to Femme-Fatale.dk for their generous support of this project!

Video Documentation

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