Kathleen McDermott

It expands like a balloon to drive unwanted creepsters away.

Ladies: Ever have a dude approach on the subway looking like he wants to climb you like a tree? Perhaps you'll be interested in this futuristic dress, then, that automatically wards away creepsters by expanding like a big balloon.

The "Personal Space Dress" is an experimental garment created by Kathleen McDermott, a Hong Kong-based designer who's making a line of "playful wearable electronics which investigate the ways women experience public space." The way it works is that two sensors mounted on the dress detect when a foreign presence draws near. They then activate a plastic armature that slowly pushes out the dress, like opening an umbrella upside down, until anyone standing too close is pushed to a safe distance. When the sensors detect the coast is clear, the dress deflates back to normal size.

The always-engaging Fashioning Tech dubs the invention "fun and silly perhaps but who doesn't love the idea of an animatronic dress." Should you want to build your own, grab a soldering gun and dig into these directions. Fans of such proactive outerwear might also enjoy McDermott's other high-tech gear for women, like a veil that blinds CCTV cameras and a scarf that leaps over the face when it senses pollution.

Top image from Kathleen McDermott's Urban Armor project

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A view of a Harlem corner.
    Equity

    How Ronald Reagan Halted the Early Anti-Gentrification Movement

    An excerpt from Newcomers, a new book by Matthew L. Schuerman, documents the early history of the anti-gentrification and back-to-the-city movements.

  2. photo: A metro train at Paris' Gare Du Nord.
    Transportation

    Can the Paris Metro Make Room for More Riders?

    The good news: Transit ridership is booming in the French capital. But severe crowding now has authorities searching for short-term solutions.

  3. photo: Mayor Luigi Brugnaro walks on St Mark's Square as exceptionally high tidal flooding engulfed the city.
    Environment

    Venice Faces ‘Apocalyptic’ Flooding

    Seasonal acqua alta reached the highest level since 1966, leaving two dead and devastating damage. The city’s ambitious flood barrier isn’t ready yet.

  4. photo: A woman crosses an overpass above the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California.
    Transportation

    Navigation Apps Changed the Politics of Traffic

    In an excerpt from the new book The Future of Transportation, CityLab’s Laura Bliss adds up the “price of anarchy” when it comes to traffic navigation apps.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×