Augmented Facemask

A facemask displaying feedback on personal space and your environment, for use in China.

Concept, Hardware, Firmware

Arduino, IR Range Sensors, Environmental Gas Sensors



Facemasks are a very common sight in China, particularly in larger cities, for various reasons. Pollution, dust, and disease (this project was made in Beijing, during the height of the H1N1 scare in 2009) are all reasons why the Chinese wear them in public. I developed concepts for separate masks that are sensitive to each of these environmental variables, however with the resources on hand created one reactive to personal space.

Green, yellow, and red LEDs indicate comfortable, uneasy, and dangerous levels of closeness that someone or something is to you. An Arduino and infrared range finder were embedded into a jacket, and worn around the city. The project was inspired by public interaction in China. Crowds on Chinese streets have no concept of personal space, and this extends even to the traffic in the street.  Displaying colored light with inherent meaning on the face created a rather jarring effect, and attracted many stares when we tested in public.  

I developed this project during one of 4 collaborative summer programs between Parsons and Tsinghua University in Beijing. This particular iteration was supported by Nokia and was conceived and executed by myself in June 2009.

Model: Jessica Floeh.