These “Gaze-Activated” Dresses Are Also Really Beautiful


Ying Gao photoluminescent dresses

When we said wearable technology was retail’s next wave, we were thinking of functionally utilitarian pieces, like Nike’s FuelBand or the rumored Apple iWatch.  Or maybe that Dita Von Teese capsule line with sewn-in QR codes, connecting wearers to the designer’s Twitter handle.  Now we’ve seen the first technology-enabled garb we consider truly beautiful.  Check out these gaze-activated dresses from Canadian artist and designer Ying Gao:

Video courtesy of Ying Gao.

The dresses move gently and light up when stared at, thanks to embedded technology that tracks onlookers’ eye movements.  Using photo-luminescent thread and very, very small, hidden motors, the fabric moves in glowing patterns responsive to the way observers are watching it.

Besides being cool enough to make their debut at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art this fall (they’ll also be shown at the Textile Museum of Canada next spring), Gao’s creations are wearable and lovely.  Too bad they’re not commercially available — the two models represent some of the first tech-enabled clothing we’d actually want to put on.