Shylight by Studio Drift

Title: Studio Drift: Shylight – Dutch Design Awards 2015

YouTube Channel: vpro

Published: Oct 12, 2015

Shylight is a large-scale kinetic sculpture at the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands that reacts to visitors as they walk under moving kaleidoscopes of flower blossoms.

I was attracted to the bouncing movement and rhythms of the delicate layers of fabric and thought that the kaleidoscopic motion was surreal. The spring mechanism used to achieve this affect was so brilliant. I could see aerial artists in Cirque du Soleil wearing a version of this costume, with the spring rigging attached to their waists and the fabric structure hanging below their feet.

Reef by

Rob Ley & Joshua G. Stein


Title: Reef – A Responsive Architectural Installation by Rob Ley (Urbana) and Joshua G. Stein (Radical Craft)

YouTube Channel: ReefSeries

Published: June 18, 2009

Reef is a kinetic structure by Rob Ley and Joshua G. Stein that uses muscle wire (SMA) and sensors to react to visitors and simulate the swaying motion of a reef ecosystem as people walk through this exhibit.

I was fascinated by the uses of Nitinol wire as an actuator and thought that this mechanism could be used in costuming for scales or feathers or hair (like on the back of the neck) that would react to a person’s environment.

Doris Sung’s Kinetic Architecture

Title: Buildings that Breathe: Doris Sung’s Living Architecture

YouTube Channel: Creators

Published: Oct. 7, 2013

Doris Sung is an architect who uses thermal bimetals to create kinetic architecture that reacts to sun and heat so that buildings can be more eco-friendly and responsive.

I would love to work with thermal bimetals to build a type of responsive body armor that protects its wearer from the elements. I like how the flat sheets of thermal bimetals can be woven or interlaced with each other to produce plaited sheets that can move from 2D to 3D forms.


Prototype 1: Ripple

Prototype 1: Ripple

This is a prototype of a costume that was inspired by the wave-y rippling motion of clown fish fin; I had envisioned that each ruffle would have a (staggered) up and down rippling effect over the entire costume so it looked like ocean waves. The ruffles would be stretched over a light metal skeleton (like an umbrella frame) that is able to move on a hinge from the base of the fabric (near the body). Materials: Silk Organza, Wire Actuator in Metal Skeleton, Servo Motors, Arduino.

Prototype 2: Chrysalis

Prototype 2: Chrysalis

This prototype was inspired by a silk worm chrysalis and the curling, gyrating, and writhing movement of the chrysalis as the insect develops; I had envisioned each segment being able to move up or down from a single point of origin (in the back of the costume where the rings are located in closer proximity to each other), effectively opening and closing the front of the chrysalis to reveal a person. The fabric would act as the limiting factor for movement based on where the hoops were attached. Materials: Stiffened Dupioni Silk, Metal Hoops.

Prototype 3: Inflatable Sacs

Prototype 3: Inflatable Sacs

This prototype of a costume was inspired by the expanding motion of a Chinese paper lantern or like a blue whales throat pleats that blimp out as it eats; I had envisioned the sleeves of the costume to balloon out and then suck in using pneumatics as the person moves and flexes their arms. I wanted to add a different color of fabric in the pleats which would be revealed as the fabric billowed out and then disappear as the fabric sac deflated. Materials: Silk Organza, Pneumatic plastic sacs inside?