Air quality visualized on a bag: Inside/Outside Handbag by Katherine Moriwaki

Inside-Outside_handbagWhile researching for the origins of wearable electronics one can find quite surprising and interesting activities dating back to a time when wearable electronics was a exotic insider term.

The Inside/Outside bag created by Katherine Moriwaki has been a visionary design back in 2003.

The handbag has an air quality sensor and audio microphone integrated and connected to a micro-controller. While walking around with such a bag through the city, changes in the surrounding air quality and noise levels heat up the conductive thread woven into the bags outer material which is impregnated with Thermochromic ink.

The heating and subsequently cooling trigger by the change in air conditions and/or ambient noise levels change the colors of the Thermochromic ink from one shade to another.

The visualization of the environmental condition is not only targeted towards the wearer/carrier of such smart handbag it is also highly visible to people around, acting as a messenger and hopefully triggers a more environmental aware lifestyle.

Visualization is the strongest form of presenting information in a more lasting way. Combining this with objects we wear brings the message out even stronger.


The use of Thermochromic ink combined with smart electronics has since the creation of the Inside/Outside bag attracted more wearable technology designer. An appealing technology tandem with a sensible potential to monitor, indicate and inform about the state of the environment around us.

Katherine Moriwaki is an Assistant Professor of Media Design in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Follow this link to explore and get inspired from Inside/Outside and other projects of Katherine in the wearable technology space.


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