Feel your surroundings – Flutter was created by Halley Profita, Nicholas Farrow, and Professor Nikolaus Correll at the University of Colorado – Boulder.
An extraordinary fusing of textiles and robotics, Flutter received First Prize for both Best in Show and Most Inclusive and Usable Design at the 2012 International Symposium on Wearable Computer’s Design Exhibition in Newcastle, England.
Inspired to aid individuals with hearing impairments, Flutter gives vibrotactile feedback in the direction of a loud sound or alarm to help those with hearing loss respond more intuitively to their external environment. Common assistive technologies, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants, have a profoundly negative footprint that often results in abandonment of the technology.
Flutter was conceived to overturn the negative personification of assistive technology by producing an ethereal and functional garment that calls attention to the beauty of the device, not the disability.
Flutter’s bodice is constructed using cotton and polyester textiles and an inner framework of embedded microphones that network together to determine frequencies and their amplitude of incoming sounds. The microphones collectively agree on the direction of sound and, in turn, actuate small vibration motors in the leaflets to simulate fluttering in the direction of the auditory cue.