The Defensive coat is used to generate a “psychological defense shield” in state of threat. In response to an abrupt defensive movement by the wearer, the coat’s collar opens and creates a large and surprising visual element as a deterrent.
The collar continues to react after it was opened by “breathing” with the user while he is alert. When another abrupt movement is recognized, the collar falls and rises very fast or vibrates for a short time (depending on the triggering motion).
The collar folds and the coat returns to “relaxed” mode only if the user folds his hands behind his back (in a calm and slow movement).
The project brief dealt with expressing the “soft” characteristics (such as emotions, mental and psychological needs) of a specific, individual person.
We chose Morpheus (one of the leading characters in the Matrix movie series) as our subject person. His coat is a constant outfit that representing the character. Morpheus himself is a calm and mysterious figure most of the time, but when he’s in danger, he becomes offensive and aggressive.
The coat follows the user’s movements in situations of threat, tension, alertness and also relaxation. Its shape and gestures were inspired by Morpheus, as well as by the world of animals, such as frilled dragons (collared lizards), bats and other animals that react visually to dangerous situations (arching the back, raising ears etc).
The coat is sewn to a rigid chassis which contains two servo motors, batteries and an Arduino board. A specially-made collar (with a unique sewn pattern) is attached to the coat and to the servo motors with steel rods. When the motors turn, the collar is opened.
In each one of the coat sleeves, there is an inner sewn pocket which contains an accelerometer and a magnetic switch that connects (with long wires through the sleeves) to the Arduino board. Two standard magnets are attached to the inner back side of the coat.
Fast motion detection is done by calculating the difference in the acceleration value in each one of the accelerometer sensors (which is each one of the user’s hands).
Folding hands behind the back is detected by two magnet switches together near the magnets at the back side (that action closes the electric circuit as a regular button does).
Udi Oren, Victor Bar and Eli Haimov