Feel your surroundings - Flutter was created by Halley Profita, Nicholas Farrow, and Professor Nikolaus Correll at the University of Colorado – Boulder.

An extraordinary fusing of textiles and robotics, Flutter received First Prize for both Best in Show and Most Inclusive and Usable Design at the 2012 International Symposium on Wearable Computer’s Design Exhibition in Newcastle, England.

Inspired to aid individuals with hearing impairments, Flutter gives vibrotactile feedback in the direction of a loud sound or alarm to help those with hearing loss respond more intuitively to their external environment.

Flutter was conceived as an alternative form of assistive technology by producing an ethereal and functional garment that calls attention to the beauty of the device, not the disability.

Fig. 2. Bodice Leaflets Flutter in Sound Direction

Flutter’s bodice is constructed using cotton and polyester textiles and an inner framework of embedded microphones that network together to determine frequencies and their amplitude of incoming sounds. The microphones collectively agree on the direction of sound and, in turn, actuate small vibration motors in the leaflets to simulate fluttering in the direction of the auditory cue.

Fig. 3. Microcontroller Undercarriage of Dress

Further information on the implementation of the networked microphones can be found here: http://correll.cs.colorado.edu/?p=2315.