Researchers are trying to develop Social Textiles, wearable t-shirts that will help people make new friends easily.
According to Ecouterre, a group of students from MIT’s Media Lab are working on wired t-shirts that will let people know when another Social Textiler would be nearby and then automatically communicate their shared interests.
It was created by Viirj Kan, Katsuya Fujii, Judith Amores, Chang Long Zhu Jin, and Pattie Maes, a group of MIT students in the Tangible Media Group and Fluid Interface Group. These students set out to create a social network that felt more personal and could be used to connect people in person.
The simple white shirts feature integrated electronics that power a grid of thermochromatic letters. When electricity would be sent to the letters, they “turn on” so people can see them. Haptic feedback capabilities allow the network to buzz the wearer at the neck like a notification.
Social Textiles can serve to connect community members with niche interests, philosophical beliefs, personalities, emotional statuses and ethical views. It has the potential to enable members to bypass superficial or generic interests through “filtering” individuals, to tune social experiences towards more compatible ones.