Body Wonders

Exploring the sensorial dimension of clothing

haptic technology, touch experiment, performance


A haptic garment to explore tactile sensations


What kind of messages, feelings and emotions can we evoke through bodily sensations?

Body Wonders is an experience that makes people feel the potential of haptic feedback in smart clothing. What kind of messages, feelings, emotions can we evoke through haptic sensations? What is the potential of this unexplored sensorial dimension? What if we could feel information on our skin?

The project was initiated by Holst Centre and has been developed in collaboration with Baltan Laboratories, Mila Chorbadzhieva and Adriaan de Man.

Photography: Mila Chorbadzhieva

Touchas alanguage

We are overwhelmed by information, our screen time during the covid pandemic increased a lot due to the digital communication with colleagues, family and friends as a result of social distancing. There is an overstimulation of visual communication compared to other senses. In the meantime, we cannot just touch each other anymore, the 1.5 m society impacted our social rituals, intimacy and relation with the physical world. We are underusing our sense of touch both to grasp our surroundings and to communicate with each other. The aim of this project is to explore touch as a method and a new language, the skin as a new interface for connection in a future, screenless society.

Thank you to all collaborators: Holst Centre, Baltan Laboratories, Mila Chorbadzhieva, Adriaan de Man, Lithe Lab and all participants of the experience

A playgroundfor two

The experience is facilitated by a smart garment containing 14 small vibration motors positioned all over the trunk and arms to create a variety of vibrotactile patterns, used as a canvas for 4 different test phases. Through these phases, a couple of participants (one operator and one receiver) will explore how to communicate simple instructions through touch over distance, how to interpret stimuli and react to them but also to get to know the medium, but also how they can learn this new language and acquire a new tactile awareness.

The experience was launched during Dutch Design Week 2020. As an open-ended experiment, qualitative data from wearer’s experiences will be gathered for the future development of haptic garments.

At Pauline van Dongen we design and develop smart textiles and clothing in a holistic way. We believe in sharing our experiences and knowledge with others to jointly change the current fashion system that relies on unethical and unsustainable practices and causes devaluation of clothing.