Intravoice is a series of wearable prototypes in response to the Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement of 2014. Intravoice consists of Heart to Heart, a glove module that is able to exchange messages through handshakes and the smart enabled Umbrella that can broadcast and signal changes in crowd mentality among a large body of people. It aims to shed light on peaceful resistance and protest movements, campaigns and social justice endeavors and questions how technology, the internet and creative expression have had defining roles for such causes.
Designed by Elaine Cheung as part of the MDP Wearables Intensive Course
Intravoice grew out of research into the many digitally enabled revolutions of recent years such as Egypt’s Tahir Square, Occupy Wall Street and the Black Lives Matter movement and their use of social media and Twitter to broadcast their message, organize between members and bring attention to their cause both at the protest locations and online. I was interested in ways storytelling and representation can move past metric data and into a much more active realm – that of participation, creation, storytelling and design. The Intravoice physical wearable prototypes take social media interactions and its viral interface into real tangible space. It reimagines the screen interaction through intimacy by means of its embodied platform of wearable technology. Through the interactive elements in the glove and umbrella, users are able to communicate without speaking, show their solidarity for each other in the use of light, and ultimately share their personal stories among the crowd that invoke a user towards intimate contact with another user. Intravoice creates social technologies that begin to mediate the relationship of our use of our body, like handshakes, motion, and natural physical gestures to a digital landscape. The wearables envision more communal and participatory social technologies that utilize real space and integrates expression into the future of communication in ways that lift the social media of today into one that will be physical, spatial and empathetic.
Heart to Heart is an interactive smart glove that exchanges intimate stories and messages anonymously through various handshakes and gestures. When worn and upon physical contact with another glove user, their pre-programmed messages will automatically transfer through their phone devices.
The Umbrella Project was created in conjunction to the glove system that utilizes communication within a network of multiple users. This particular prototype was a smart umbrella system that would create a mobilization map in the sky similar to a physical locative heat map. However the points of measurement would be based on the messages one user would need to send to another or, in this case, a crowd. The lights in the umbrella would signal a particular type of message to the crowd and depending on the audience, fellow protesters or the opposing police displays could be customized, furthering the act of expressive communication.