For this assignment, we decided to play with the idea of a superhero who quickly changes from their casual, everyday clothes into their superhero costume. In the starting position, the wearer hides as an ordinary person by wearing a normal button down and standing on their toes, which juts their body forward so they appear in a slouching position, to blend in. However, when they stand up straight and plant their feet down in a very confident and superhero-like pose, the front portions of the shirt drop down, and it quickly transforms into cape. 

The shirt is held together using pairs of magnets, and we designed them to come apart fairly easily by putting each magnet in the pair in a pocket and inserting cardboard in between where the magnets were supposed to meet, decreasing the strength of the attraction. We attached strings from the the front of the shirt to the wearer’s ankles, so that the movement of standing up straight pulls on the strings, forcing the shirt apart. During the assignment, since we had two shirts between us, we used one shirt as our prototype to help us figure out where to cut it, how to attach the magnets and where to put them, and how to initiate the transformation. We initially experimented with using the Bowden cable to create a force that could separate the magnets that were holding the shirt together, but we decided to switch to string, so that we could attach a string to every magnet pair, and easily adjust tension for each.

Overall, we worked together well, and split up the work pretty evenly. Since we didn’t know each other super well at the start of the project, it took us a little bit to really get into brainstorming and picking a direction, but once we started to experiment and play, it was a lot easier to communicate our ideas and come up with solutions and decisions as a team. Each of us had a chance to get out of our comfort zone and try skills we were weaker at while working with the prototype shirt since even if we messed it up, we would still have the “final product” shirt to work with, which ended up with the prototype shirt being somewhat mangled, but our ideas fleshed out enough to properly apply them to the final product.

Drafting our plans for the construction of the shirt

Above is a draft of our plans for the construction of the shirt