Fakugesi Social Wearables made use of wearable technology and public engagement workshops to explore how citizens of Johannesburg in South Africa perceive their experience of safety in the city. This project explores what constitute a resilient community where citizens are empowered to contribute to their city.
As part of a the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival 2015, a series of workshops were hosted during which participants engaged in debates and discussions on what concerns them about their city. The topic of Safety in the city and the participants’ experiences became a driving factor for the design and function of the wearable devices. 10 wearable harnesses were co-designed together wth the participants. The harnesses formed an ‘expressive’ interface that enabled real-time body gesture tracking and were coupled to each other for partners to send signals unobtrusively to each other from a distance. They were then worn by different participants for a period of 1 week to track their perception of safety in the city. Powered by WearON, the wearables were designed to be real-time body gesture tracking devices, coupled with real time connectivity between wearers (i.e. wearer gets alerted through vibration if their partner was perceived to be unsafe). Participants can either choose to walk in pairs ( but far from each other) or as individual.