June 20, 2012

The "Hysterical Bubble" interactive wearable project

 From Anja Hertenberger and Jeroen Meijer in Europe comes the "Hysterical Bubble" - a wearable project consisting of four suits, each one with an embroidered textile bubble that inflates or deflates in reaction to the proximity of the group members to each other. From the project site:

‘Hysterical Bubble’ is a piece for four performers  who have the assignment to behave as a group. In the moment, when one of the performer steps out of the rules of the group, a new situation will be created and the group is not a group any longer. The person stepping out of the group shows his or her identity by the bubble blowing up. This refers to a form of a Hysterical symptom. When this person respects the proximity of the group members to each other, the bubble deflates back to its original form.

In common speech someone who is excessively expressive can be called hysterical. In psychology hysteria is manly distinguishes by two types of disorder: Conversion disorder (physical symptoms) and Histrionic personality disorder. ‘Hysterical Bubble’ is an artistic translation of the physical symptoms. The physical symptom, the bubble, can be seen as an underlying conflict.

Here is a demonstration of the project at work:


Certainly an avante-garde mix of technology, art, and psychology. Although the underlying theory may be unexpected, the implementation was quite simple - using Arduino-compatible boards, impellers to inflate and deflate the bubbles and miscellaneous circuitry. For more information about this project and other demonstrations, visit their website

Wearable technology is simple to implement once the concepts and designs have been determined. For an Arduino-based project, consider using our tiny Freetronics LeoStick - one of the smallest Arduino-compatible boards on the market:

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