Second skin sense – Taiknam Hat

Taiknam_Heat_model.jpg Ricardo Nascimento, Ebru Kurbak and Fabiana Shizue, students of the Kunstuniversit√§t Linz, Austria, created an interesting interactive clothing item which is ‘feather rising’ literally and figuratively.

Their project, the Taiknam Hat is a kinetic head-wear that reacts and animates in accordance with the changes in its surrounding medium wave radio signals.

Taiknam Hat is an attempt to materialize the electrosmog, especially the contribution of immensely used cell-phones, by emulating horripilation, an automatic instinctive reaction of living creatures to sources of irritation and stress.

Horripilation can be defined as the erection of hairs or feathers in various species under certain emotional conditions (better known as goose bumps in human body) is a temporary and local change in the skin.

I like to idea of using clothing as extension or should I say ‘recreation’ of our lost sensory information source of the skin which we cover up usually.

The Taiknam Hat is composed of fixed and movable actual feathers attached on a fabric base together with a detecting/motion-driving system. A radio frequency detector constantly traces signals which are sent to a micro-controller which in turn activates a motor that changes the kinetic behavior of the feathers.


I wonder if a similar, ‘feather rising’ effect could be achieved by using shape memory wires that react when electrical current is applied. In this way the complexity could be reduced (no motor and supporting mechanical structure), making the system more robust.

As with many other design concepts, I like the motivation, the story behind the creation that leads to a particular design. Concept designs are a great source of inspiration which can be expanded into many other ’embodiments’ = designs.

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