ITW | Behnaz Farahi’s 3D printed interactive garment responds to people’s gaze

In a previous post, we introduced Behnaz Farahi‘s collaboration with Pauline van Dongen on the Ruff 3D printed responsive garment. She’s back with a new project, the Caress of the Gaze, a new 3D printed outfit responding to people’s gaze. Developed in San Francisco, the project is part of Benhaz’s Artist Residency at Pier9, Autodesk and was also sponsored by Madworkshop Foundation.

Presented in a Vimeo video two weeks ago, the beautiful garment is a neck cape, covered of quills. Reacting to the gaze of a person staring at it, it expands and contracts as the eyes rove around.


A tiny camera is embedded to the garment, under its quills. A microcontroller connected to it determines the age & gender of the gazer, affecting the garment’s motion in addition to its eyes movements. Using a special 3D printer that allows to make various flexibilities composite materials and densities, it combines materials in several ways with different properties in the same print run, according to Behnaz.

Bridging the worlds of fashion, tech and arts, this new project shows how our bodies can communicate with our environment, but also with other people. A new step in interactive clothing, it shows that technology can enhance fashion, but in an aesthetically pleasing way. Because we won’t ever say it enough, Fashion Tech has to be beautiful to be considered as fashion, and not just geeks playing with materials.

ITW | Benhaz Farahi

Clausette Magazine: Thank you for accepting our interview request! We are fans of your work since we discovered your collaboration with Pauline van Dongen on the Ruff dress :)

Please tell us more about Caress of the Gaze, how did you come with the idea of a garment responsive to eye-gaze? What is your reflexion behind this project?

B.F.: This project was inspired by nature both in terms of its morphology and behavior, especially various reptile and animal skins, such as snake and fish scale systems. The project explores the potential of multi-material 3D Printing technologies to recreate these systems by investigating the tectonic properties of the materials used with an Objet Connex500 3D Printer. This technology allows the fabrication of composite materials with varying flexibilities, densities, and can combine materials in several ways with different material properties deposited in a single print run. Inspired by the flexible behavior of the skin itself, this outfit therefore exhibits different material characteristics in various parts of the body ranging from stiff to soft.Our skin is constantly in motion. It expands, contracts and changes its shape based on various internal/ external stimuli including not only temperature and moisture but also feelings, such as fear, excitement and anger. The idea was to create an artificial skin inspired by nature, which could become an extension of our actual skin, while providing novel forms of interaction between our body and the surrounding environment. The challenge, therefore, was how our clothing could behave as an artificial skin capable of changing its shape and operating as an interface with the world defining social issues such as intimacy, gender and even personal identities. The idea was to create an outfit which could detect the gaze of other person, and make it visible to the point that you could literally feel the gaze of another on your outfit.


C.M.: How does the capture of gaze work through the tiny camera shown on your video?

B.F.: It is indeed a chip with a tiny camera thanks to the advances of technology. For this purpose an image sensing technology camera – capable of detecting gender, age and orientation of the gaze – is used to communicate with a microcontroller, which is able to actuate and control various nodes in the garment. More technical information will come out soon.



C.M.: What about the garment itself, is it 3D printed? And how does it work in response to the gaze captured by the camera?

B.F.: Yes, the piece is 3D Printed (explained in detail above) and actuated with Shape Memory Alloy actuators embedded inside. It moves as another person is looking at different parts of the garment. It investigates how our clothing could interact with other people as a primary interface using computer vision technologies.

C.M.: What are your upcoming projects? Any exciting news you could with us?

B.F.: I believe that ‘Caress of the Gaze’ is not limited to the world of fashion. It addresses the emerging field of shape changing structures, 4D Printing and interactive systems that bridges the worlds of fashion, art, technology and design. Generally, I am fascinated by projects, which allow me to explore the relationship of human body to the space around them; this can be explored at either an architectural scale or at the scale of wearable/fashion -as you can see in my previous work-. I am also interested in projects, which encourage new visions for interaction with surrounding environment and allow the users to experience space differently. The aim is the possibility of creating EMPATHY between humans and artificial man-made environments.

Next upcoming project will be another design challenge exploring these concepts either in architecture or fashion realm!

Caress of the Gaze was developed in San Francisco as part Artist Residency at Pier9, Autodesk. The project was also sponsored by Madworkshop Foundation.

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Post written by Noémie Balmat, Founding editor-in-chief

Clausette_servicesInterested in the future of fashion, the digital revolutions and advertising, Noémie has a valuable three-year experience in international advertising agencies and works with young innovative designers as a fashion tech freelance consultant. Currently working for Publicis Conseil in Paris, she launched Clausette Magazine in November 2014 to gather all cool projects linking fashion & innovation in one place. Sensitive to the technological and scientific evolutions, she takes part in several Fashion Tech weeks and events as a speaker (Paris, Tokyo, Roubaix…).

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