Danish Design studio Diffus co-founders Michel Guglielmi and Hanne-Louise Johannesen initiated a project to create the Climate Dress, an interactive garment that reacts to the CO2 changes in its surroundings by sensing the CO2 concentration in the air.
In response to the levels of CO2, it lights up its more than 100 LEDs, creating diverse light patterns that vary from slow, regular light pulsations to short and quick. The dress uses soft conductive thread that has a similar consistency to the kind of thread used for traditional and industrial embroidery. This way the embroidery becomes more than an esthetic element; it has a crucial function conveying electricity and computer information, which powers the dress. Several microcontrollers are connected to the embroidery via conductive threads, gathering data from the CO2 sensor and transforming the information into light patterns.
The design studio brought together experts from diverse fields of knowledge, such as microelectronics, wireless communication, embroidery, fashion design and interaction design. Establishing common ground for these different fields created a base for the innovative product.
The dress does not rely on wiring, soldering or crimping that could impair the textile aspect. All functional elements are blended into the embroidery and exposed to the eye, so that ornamental design and functionality are no longer “antagonists.”
The designers say that this soft circuit approach opens up ways of integrating interactive technology and sensors into textiles that could support developments in communication and healthcare monitoring, in addition to fashion.