Advanced Prototype III ✥

Week 05 | Dec 08–11

AK | CS | RE | ZU
4 min readDec 9, 2020

Tuesday, December 8th

After the feedback from the catwalk on Friday we are now looking to make our wearable a little more fantastic. For us this means considering what parts of the wearable should inflate, as well as how this inflation looks. We also would like to focus more on the sound of breathing, and hope to do this by working with all the sounds that our wearable (and its user) produces. This includes the noise of the vacuum pumps, our breath, the movement of the plastic material when air is pumped in, as well as when air is released from these inflatable shapes.

To achieve all this, however, we need to have the right materials to work with. This has without a doubt been our biggest struggle and setback. We’ve tried out two different types of silicon, neither of which were flexible and/or strong enough to be inflated. Balloons were also a material we tested, but as they are limited to their predefined shape they have become a backup plan in case the plastic fabric (see images below) doesn’t work the way we hope it will 🤞🏼 It took us the entire day working with this material to figure out how to a) make a seam strong enough to withstand air pressure and b) how to begin making interesting shapes with it, without the seams or material ripping. We are feeling cautiously optimistic with this material after today!

Exploration of how to make a strong seam with the plastic fabric
Inflating plastic fabric; Music: Blue Dream by Cheel, YouTube Audio Licence Library

We also considered where on the body the wearable should sit. Breathing is a full body motion, yes, but to highlight this we decided to focus on specific areas where we feel our breath most. In addition, we managed to get the AIRPO vacuum pumps up and running with the Arduino, as well as the breath sensor which will be incorporated into a plastic oxygen mask.

Taking into consideration which areas of the body feel breath the most & translating to our wearable

Wednesday, December 9th

Today we split up the work between the four of us, focusing on the following three areas: the AIRPO vacuum pumps, the incorporation of sound into the wearable/performance, and the construction of the wearable itself.

A quick visual summary of our process; paper to plastic to wearable
Creating the inflatable plastic wearable; Music: Best Horizon, Gone by The Westerlies, YouTube Audio Licence Library
A compilation of sounds created with the wearable and the pumps

Sounds from Video

  • Sound 1: big compressor, switching on/off
  • Sound 2: big compressor, restricting airflow through tube
  • Sound 3: pump, ramping up and down
  • Sound 4: pump restricting airflow through tube
  • Sound 5: additional dubstep

Mentoring Feedback

  • Where are we placing the pumps? Are they built into the wearable? If so, where? Or are they separate?
  • Think about sound: is it just for the wearer? Or is it also for the audience?

Thursday, December 10th

Putting all the pieces together to make our advanced prototype III
Finished advanced prototype III

Friday, December 11th

This morning we had our second performance, and it definitely went better than expected. We worried that the plastic pieces on the suit would not inflate as well as we had imagined, because the pipes are not completely sealed. Second, we were concerned that even if the plastic pieces inflated they would fail to move the bands they were connected to. It wasn’t perfect, but the suit was inflating and moving—a bit. Without a doubt we have work to do, but we feel confident moving into our final week of production before the last performance. Here are some of the main things we have to consider:

  • Straps are not working as well as we imagined. How do we mount the plastic inflatable pieces onto a wearable or suit?
  • Shapes of the inflatable pieces need to be refined, even joined together somehow?
  • Plastic pipes need to be better sealed to allow for better inflation
  • Do we consider how the breath of another person could affect the motion of the wearable, and therefore the wearer of the suit?



AK | CS | RE | ZU

Interaction Design students from the Zurich University of the Arts documenting their process during the Embodied Interaction module.