functional description





  • An exhale skirt is a custom-made garment with electronics embedded within it to form a sensor and communication system that can exchange physiological signals and responses with another exhale skirt.
  • Each skirt has a small portable computer, or PDA, that coordinates and interprets the data communication. Along with the PDA, there are several very small computers that control embedded transducers - fans and vibrating motors - and that are mounted on individual circuit boards, called ¡®islands¡¯. These ¡®islands¡¯ interact with the PDA via a Personal Area Network, or PAN, constructed using Bluetooth technology.
  • Connections that cannot be made wirelessly are made using conductive fabric ¡®wires¡¯ which are composed of a transparent directionally conductive fabric contained in a non-conductive fabric or sewn directly into the skirt to form portions of the skirt itself.
  • There is also a pressure-sensitive pad area, constructed of the conductive fabric wires, connected to one of the Bluetooth ¡®islands¡¯, to provide touch-based gesture data.
  • The PDA has two specialized devices attached to it as well: an encoder that converts the analog electrical signals from a breath sensor into digital format, and an RFID sensor that is used to identify nearby skirts via small disks sewn into each skirt.
  • The breath sensor is an adjustable, stretchable band worn about the chest that generates an electrical signal on each exhalation and inhalation.
  • This signal is conveyed to the PDA via the encoder, where it is analyzed and then transmitted to a central system, along with information on which exhale skirts are near to this skirt as well as any gestures reported from the pressure-sensitive pad.
  • The central system routes the analyzed signals to other exhale skirts, based on the ¡®neighbourhood¡¯ information that has been gathered. At the same time, the breath signals from groups of skirts are gathered together and analyzed; this collective breath is then sent back to the skirts within the group, and displayed on each skirt as a pattern of light using special light-emissive fibres controlled by the PDA. The PDAs also activate their fans and vibrating motors, using their Bluetooth ¡®islands¡¯, when the gesture or breath data matches their criteria.
  • The central system converts the data obtained from the skirts - the physiological data, the RFID data and the pressure pad data - into a visible and audible representation of the state of the installation space and its participants. A video projection system and multiple speakers are used to convey this representation to the participants within the space.