Author Archives: zhant293

Rose Shell | Aim + Tong

How can we use technology to protect women?

Roses developed thorns after being abused by predators attracted to their sweet smell. Inspired by this defense mechanism, we have created an exoskeleton that allows women to protect themselves from sexual assaults.



We looked into existing projects that touched on the theme of self-protection through wearables.

One of our biggest inspirations was the Spider Dress by Anouk Wipprecht. It plays with the idea of planting spider legs onto the shoulders of the wearable. If there are people nearby the dress, the legs of the spider would extend, sending the signal of “do not approach” to the outsiders. This dress inspired us with its biological yet mechanical movements as well as the play of integrating an animal mechanism into a wearable.


Another precedent that inspired us is Birce Ozkan’s Self Defense Wearable for Women. Inspired by hedgehogs, she wanted to create a wearable belt that imitates the movements of a hedgehog when it is prepared to defend itself.

Though we were inspired by these wearables and their incredible messages, we wanted to create something that was more discrete and feminine. We wanted our exoskeleton to be elegant and fierce looking.


Initial sketches

We were imagining the sensors to be activated through proximity or touch. So we were thinking of either adding a capacitive sensor or proximity sensor.




We begin the prototyping with seeing how the flip dot moves with a spike attached to it. Once we saw that its movement was what we wanted to achieve, we tried with 2 flip dots.


Then we started thinking about how the movement of the flowers on the neck would look like. We wanted the to become spikier once the flexinol wire shrinks too.



The Spike


We made spikes to attach to the flip dots. However, the initial material we made the spikes from resulted to be too heavy for the flip dots, so we used rice paper for flip dots that do activate.

Diamond Shoulder


We also made 2 diamond shoulder pieces to contain the batteries and the Arduino UNO, and covered them with tulle to make the appearance softer.



We also began to embroider the circuit into another piece of tulle in order to make it part of the back piece, as well as ease of access to connect to the batteries and Arduino on the shoulder.

Back piece


We attached the coils onto the lace with a plastic band to secure the movement and make sure the lace won’t break in the process of testing. We soldered the coils and attached them onto conductive threads. All top coils attached to left side of the circuit and all bottom coils are attached to the right side of the circuit.

Capacitive sensor

We also made a capacitive sensor onto the front of the choker and connected it to the Arduino through the back.




Final Prototype Sketch

Circuit Sketch


We used Arduino UNO and 2 9v batteries to power up the flip dots and capacitive sensor. There are 2 coils under each magnetic bead to facilitate the switching of power to activate the flip dots. The top coil would be controlled by one transistor and the bottom coil by another transistor. If the capacitive sensor is activated, then the top coil would activate and make the flip dots move downwards. Otherwise, it would remain upwards.

We had a lot of issues finding out how to power the 9 flip dots, as we were able to only move 5 with 18 volts of power. Once we tried applying more power, the conductive thread start sparkling at certain parts. One assumption we had is that there is too much resistance towards the tail of the back piece, making it hard for electricity to pass through. Another issue could have been that the sewing of the magnetic beads was wrong, so it is unable to move.

Final Outcome

Future Steps

We want to continue working on this project in order to make it a fully functional prototype. Moreover, the overall design of the exoskeleton made it difficult to test while assembling, so we need to rethink of a new way to allow the testing to be done while soldering the backpiece.

Aim + Tong – Final Proposal

For the final, Aim and I are creating a wearable that has its own self-defense mechanisms. We want to design this wearable in order to respond to the design question of: How do we reshape biologically after living a traumatic memory of sexual abuse?

Our wearable consists of 3 mechanisms, one situated on the spine, another on the neck and the last one on the palms. For the spine, we are thinking of creating moving spikes with 12 flip dots. For the neck, we will be using flexinol to make the shape change into sharper edges. The hands will consist of speakers that will produce sounds to scare the enemy away.


Week 11: SMA

For this week’s homework, I experimented with SMA to create an unhappy cat taking a shower.

I began by drawing the cutouts of the shower and the cat and made a box to facilitate the up and down movement. For the handmade sensor I made a rotating sensor with some paper, copper tape and screw nails. The sensor did not work out as well in the code, so I ended up not using it to activate the wire.

Then I started experimenting with making the wire move. I had a lot of difficulties controlling with Arduino because my battery wasn’t working well. I tried using analogWrite up to 50000 in value to make it move.

After switching batteries it was operating better.



Week 10: Thermochromic Ink

For this week’s project, I decided to use thermochromic ink to play with the idea of season changes.

My idea is to have the red layer (fall) under the green layer (summer). So I started by painting the bottom layer.

Then I tried to mix the yellow and blue pigment with the transparent base to make a green transparent layer, but the paint ended up being too thick and gooey to manipulate well. Also, it took a long time to dry… After researching a bit I realized that it would take about 2-3 days to completely dry. (Also, it looks really gross after it dries)


In the interest of time, I decided to scratch this idea and decided to add the green in another way.

Because the fall season also had yellow leaves, I mixed blue pigments with yellow to make green and added that onto the red background. So when the green parts hit the hit, it would become yellow.

Initially, I wanted the change to be entirely from green (summer) to red (fall), but I had a lot of difficulties to make the head go through the thick fabric + paint. So I ended up using a heat shrink to heat up the paint.

Assignment 8: Connectors

Here are the four nodes I made:

(I realized that the paper one for the battery was wrong, so I changed it later), and here are the 4 connectors:

I mostly focused on creating connectors that would be easy to clip on and take off because I usually have a really hard time doing that without damaging the circuit or accidentally unplugging a wire.

I also wanted to make connectors that would damage the materials the least. For instance, the bobby pin/and paper clip would be perfect to easily slide on and off of materials that can get wrinkly very quickly. The pin and safety pin would be great for pinning fabrics.

Assignment 5: New Craft + ATTiny

Practice: I would consider myself a researcher who practices, mostly because I enjoy doing research a lot.

Favorite tool: My favorite tool remains to be scissors, mostly because it is very versatile, and something I always forget to carry.

Knitting: For this week I wanted to try making an amigurumi, or knitted plushes. I followed these tutorials (1, 2, 3, 4) to make a knitted square and then followed this tutorial to attempt the bunny. I didn’t have any filling, which might have contributed to why my bunny looks a bit awkward. I used more yarn to make the filling.

I really enjoyed the mindless work involved behind knitting. If I were to become more crafty with my hands (I felt that I was knitting at very awkward angled with my fingers), I would definitely do this as I am thinking or doing other things.

Though it was enjoyable, a frustration I encountered was that while I was looking for other things to knit, many of the tutorials I found online were written in rather complex languages. The explanations for the patterns were very hard to understand, so I was only able to follow whatever was available in video form. Also, knitting required a lot of patience. I can finally understand that being a knitting grandma is not as relaxing as it seems.

A tip I would give to beginners is to be more patient and start slow.


For the circuit, I had to make it twice as the first time did not work as expected. I believe this was due to the bad soldering. I ended up creating another circuit in the breadboard.


Assignment 4: Arduino + Sensors

I am using Chang Liu‘s custom sensor (fan) to turn 3 LEDs on and off. The narrative behind these sensors is that there is a fire (red LEDs) to be put out and the only way to put it out is with a fan.

I extended Chang’s copper stripes so it would be more sensitive to movement. As I move the fan, the copper tape would touch each other and the LEDs would turn off.

Below is the Arduino code:

This is a sample video of the sensor:


Here is the explanation video for kids: