Fakugesi Social Wearables explores how residents of Johannesburg in South Africa perceive their experience of safety in the city through the use of wearable technology as a tool to allow communities to collectively record their perception of safety through intuitive body gestures.
A series of workshops were hosted over a period of 3 weeks during which participants and members of the public engaged in debates and discussions on what concerns them about Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The topic of Safety in the city and the participants’ experiences became a driving factor for the design and function of the wearable devices.
Participants took part in various stages of the project, from conceptualising the wearables’ housing using simple materials such as foam and cardboards, tesing the earlier prototype of the electronics to wearing the final wearable harness to collect data while walking in the city.
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.
Special thanks to:
All the participants involved in the project at any point during the residency
Tegan Bristow and Irini Papadimitriou for your support throughout the project