Interactive Fashion dream – the Butterfly Dress


An amazing creation of Interactive Fashion in its purest sense is the Butterfly Dress from Alexander Reeder a highly creative student at NYU currently studying Interactive Telecommunications.

The Butterfly Dress is one of the most stunning representations of technology enhanced clothing focusing on aesthetic rather than more functional products like iPod control jackets.

This lovely silk organza dress has butterflies as style elements which in itself is a nice, cute design touch. The amazing interactivity comes to life when the Butterflies suddenly start flapping their wings. The sudden flapping is triggered by motion and the heartbeat of the wearer.

The Butterfly Dress is aware of the surroundings in two ways: first, the distance of people around and secondly, the heartbeat of the wearer. Using this information, the golden butterfly’s flap their wings and move in vertical motion. As someone approaches, the butterflies rise in greeting.

The Butterfly Dress is a extraordinary exploration of fashion, interactivity and social interaction. I am getting carried away by imagining these butterflies on my future dress.

Back to business, on the technical side Alex has documented in an extremely detailed way the whole process of creating this dream dress with its technical elements. A ‘You Must Read’ source of information and inspiration.

The butterflies are attached with magnetic snaps, which also supplies power. As the butterflies are removable, the dress can be worn with no butterflies or just one or all at once. A small gear motor is used to drive the flapping mechanism.


The intelligence of this smart dress comes from a Lilypad module, collecting data and controlling the butterfly’s wing motors. A heart rate monitor belt powered by a Polar board wraps around the body to listen to the pulse. All components are hidden in the inner lining of the dress connecting the different components via conductive treads.

The power comes from a 740 mAH battery. Two butterflies will flap continuously for over four hours – plenty of time for a night out. The Butterfly dress can go through dry-cleaning as all non-washable parts are removable.

I wonder how much more magical the Butterfly Dress would be if it uses shape-memory alloy like Di Mainstone and Joanna Berzowska used for the SKORPOIN Dress to create the wing flapping?

Go and visit Alex Reeder’s Butterfly Dress project site and get carried away like me thinking about having such a dress in the wardrobe.

[via: Trend Hunter]

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