Anyone who has surprised a cat knows that raised hackles—a way of artificially inflating one’s size in the face of danger—are a classic “fight or flight” behavior. Somewhere in our evolutionary history, humans lost that ability. But Chromat, the so-called “architectural sportswear” designer beloved by the likes of Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, has found a way for people—and women, in particular—to look physically imposing when threatened. The “Adrenaline” dress, which debuted at New York Fashion Week on Friday, uses biometric sensors to keep tabs on its wearer’s adrenaline levels. Powered by Intel’s button-sized “Curie” chip, the garment features hourglass-shaped “wings” that expand and retract in response to variations in breathing and heart rates.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
“With the Intel Curie module, the garments can change shape and adapt to the wearer’s environment,” Ayse Ildeniz, vice president of new devices at Intel, explained in a blog post. “By using sensors and an innovative shape memory alloy, the responsive garments reflect a concept known as biomimicry, where nature is used to solve complex human problems.
Francis Bitonti Studio, well-known for its own rapidly prototyped couture, and Voodoo Manufacturing, a Brooklyn-based manufacturer, are credited with the three-dimensional fabrication of the dress, which comprises thermoplastic polyurethane panels, neoprene, and and an interlinked carbon-fiber framework.
But the Adrenaline isn’t exactly everyday casual, and Becca McCharen, Chromat’s founder, knows that better than most. She sees a future where garments know how you feel and react accordingly.
“This is a showpiece of what’s possible,” she told the New York Times.