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Adobe Shared the Story Behind Its Animated Interactive Dress

Engineers explained the technology behind the changing patterns of the magical outfit.

Image credit: Adobe

This year's Adobe MAX conference stunned everyone with an amazing animated dress that can change patterns and react to movement. It was made with reflective light-diffuser modules for non-emissive flexible display systems, called Project Primrose, and its creators shared the story behind it.

Research scientist Christine Dierk started as an intern at Adobe in 2019 and was asked to make the dress in one summer. However, it took her four years eventually, although it was worth the extra time.

Dierk worked with Adobe engineer, TJ Rhodes, to create petals that can switch colors and thus make new images. "Each petal is underlaid with a printed circuit board, which allows them to fluctuate between shades of gray and ivory," according to Women's Wear Daily.

The dress was not the first product Dierk and Rhodes experimented with: they started by sticking the petals to a flat canvas and then a handbag, which you can see in the video above.

“The electronics allow us to tile the petals onto any surface,” Dierk said. “So it could be a handbag, it could be a wall, it could even be furniture with these display elements integrated in different ways.”

In the end, Dierk's love for sewing led to the dress we saw and appreciated. She started sewing her own dresses in 2018 and brought this skill to Project Primrose. Rhodes, on the other hand, was not as familiar with the craft:

Image credit: Adobe

“I didn’t start sewing until Christine showed up,” Rhodes said. “I haven’t actually gone as far as making garments, but being around the craft and working with it has definitely changed how we approach integrating electronics into garments.

“If you want to see innovation in the fashion space, we need to apply technology to it. Technology makes things easier, makes things more practical, and hopefully it could help make the fashion industry more sustainable.”

Image credit: Adobe

Project Primrose is definitely pushing the borders of personalization in fashion, although I'm not sure the novelty won't wear off quickly if you decide to buy one interactive dress instead of a bunch of more traditional ones. As I mentioned in the previous article about it, the tech still needs polishing, at least when it comes to the size of the petals because now it looks like the dress adds an inch or two to your sides.

The future of the project is unclear for now, but the creators say the goal was "to inspire people, both in technology and fashion."

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