dudes in tubes

This pair of costumes was featured in "The Body Electric," a wearable technology fashion show produced by CalArts and the MIT Media Lab. The show was performed live for the Network Entertainment World Conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in February of 1998. It was also filmed and rebroadcast on the Canadian television show Ooh La La.

flash photograph during performance, and same view without flash

The design goal of this project was to create a wearable full-body sensor that displayed different colors of light in response to arm and leg motion. A meshwork of translucent silicone rubber tubing formed the foundation of this piece, covering the arms, legs, and torso of each performer. Tilt switches within the tubing measured the orientation of each limb (upward or downward, horizontal or vertical), and hundreds of multi-color LEDs were distributed throughout the outfit.

excerpt of dance moves

When all parts of the body are pointed downward, the lights are green. When a part of an arm or leg is turned upward, the lights in that region become red, and neighboring lights become yellow. The tilt switches also respond to jumping and shaking, and can cause regions of the outfit to flicker between red and green.

the dudes, before the show
closeup view of tubes showing color change with motion

Quick-time movies including original music (will open in a new window)
Full performance (about 3 minutes, 5.4MB file size)
Excerpt from rehearsal (22 seconds, 564K file size)

Or, watch it on our youtube channel:

how to order

Light-up costumes are available on a made-to-order basis (we usually don't have extras of the deluxe designs in stock). Please see our custom orders page for more information.

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