Human hair is a cultural material, with a rich history displaying individuality, cultural expression and group identity. It is malleable in length, color and style, highly visible, and embedded in a range of personal and group interactions. As wearable technologies move ever closer to the body, and embodied interactions become more common and desirable, hair presents a unique and little-explored site for novel interactions. In this paper, we present an exploration and working prototype of hair as a site for novel interaction, leveraging its position as something both public and private, social and personal, malleable and permanent. We develop applications and interactions around this new material in HäirIÖ: a novel integration of hair-based technologies and braids that combine capacitive touch input and dynamic output through color and shape change. Finally, we evaluate this hair-based interactive technology with users, including the integration of HäirIÖ within the landscape of existing wearable and mobile technologies.

Work by: Christine Dierk, Sarah Sterman, Molly Jane Nicholas, Eric Paulos

 

See their older project:

AlterNail: Ambient, Batteryless, Stateful, Dynamic Displays at your Fingertips

 

Beyond phones, watches, and activity tracking devices, a new ecosystem of functional and fashionable wearable technologies can easily, safely, and economically be designed, prototyped, and integrated directly on the body. In this paper, we present AlterNail, a fingernail form factor, ambient, low-power, stateful, wireless, dynamic display with onboard vibrational sensing. AlterNail integrates a batteryless design using inductive coupling with e-ink technology to enable both quick dynamic and long-term static fingernail based visual designs without the need for power. We also detail the use of simple vibrational signals to uniquely identify everyday objects as they are handled using AlterNails. The intentionally limited interactional functionality of AlterNails, coupled with the rich personal and dynamic expressive potential, combine to present a compelling range of opportunities for designers of new interactive wearable technologies. We detail a range of practical and playful applications using this technology.

Work by: Christine Dierk, Tomás Vega Galvez, Eric Paulos

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