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This sensory wearable is designed for flirting

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With people more likely to be locking eyes with their smartphone screens these days when they’re hanging around in public, the London-based designers behind this feathery wearable are worried that the chances for exchanging flirtatious glances with passing strangers is being engineered out of daily life. Or, let’s be honest, translated into monetizable swipes on Tinder et al.

Their answer to smartphones stealing our presence and peripheral vision is a sensory device called Ripple that’s on the look out for admiring glances on its wearers’ behalf. Albeit, given that the wearer would be wearing what looks like two large and trembling, silver-tipped sea anemones on their shoulders it’s entirely possible they’ll garner more than the average number of side-eyes. Still, who knows what the future of fashion will look like? Let alone the future of dating…

The project, by four designers on the Innovation Design Engineering joint double masters course at Imperial College London and The Royal College of Art, combines sensors and computer vision tech with a series of slender protuberances that tremor when mutual attraction is detected, via a pair of on-board cameras.

“Ripple is a wearable extension of your body for the future of dating, which calculates who in a room is attracted to you,” they write. “When it finds someone, it gives you sensorial feedback, reflecting the excitement you feel when meeting someone special. If the attraction is mutual then it’s tentacles will move in reaction to their gaze, amplifying the language of seduction between the two people.”

The prototype device informs its wearer they are being watched by sending a ripple-like sensation up their back. At this point the wearer can turn their body to determine who in the room is peeping at them. When the device detects they are looking at the person who was looking at them they’ll receive a tap on the chest to confirm. And if they keep looking, Ripple will keep rippling.

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