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WEAR ME!!! - REVIEW - 5-12-02
The Blanket Project | Nic
k Stedman | The Forum, Norwich

nick stedman - the blanket project
nick stedman - the blanket project

The Blanket Project: let it wear you

On the first floor of Norwich's Forum, in a room next to Pizza Express, sits a bizarre object: Nick Stedman's Blanket Project. Fascinating and disturbing in equal measure, it sits on a table, its blanket-shaped outline flexing and pulsing rhythmically, as a series of motors operate an octopus-shaped skeleton fleshed out by armband-like inflatable cushions.

The iteration of The Blanket Project currently on show at The Forum is very much a work in progress, as Toronto-based Stedman explains: "At present, its physical interaction is minimal. It can sense -- 40 tactile sensors respond to the degree of pressure on them -- but nothing is yet happening with the data generated."

Stedman's Blanket, when fully developed, will provide a startlingly unusual experience: "It will be able to crawl around a space, find people within that space and crawl over to and on top of them -- like a pet." It is equipped with a wireless transceiver and a PIC microprocessor, which will enable Stedman to set up a camera to detect bodies in that space and beam the data to the blanket which will, thanks to clever programming, then scuttle across to detected objects. Each part of the blanket's skeleton is fitted with a pressure sensor, so it will be able to respond to physical movement from the people it envelops.

So what, exactly, will it be able to do when it is fully developed? "It will try to entertain you -- grasp you, or kind of hug you. Hopefully, in a way that you find satisfying." It does sound a bit scary, though. Stedman acknowledges that: "I want it to be familiar in shape, but doing something that is not familiar. And I would like people interacting with it to feel comfortable yet disturbed."

related fp links>>
> pictures: the blanket project
> the blanket project:
fp commission
> pictures: wear me!!! marketplace
> wearables forum

external links>>
> www.nickstedman.com

nick stedman - the blanket project
a skeleton ready for its covering
nick stedman - the blanket project
stedman assembles the blanket
nick stedman - the blanket project
inflatables cushion the blanket's
motors and workings
credits- review: steve boxer | photography/digital images: john chapman