The umbrella dress: Coming soon to a train near you

Value you your personal space? This could be the dress for you.

Hong Kong-based designer Kathleen McDermott has designed a frock that features built-in proximity sensors and plastic armature that makes it expand outwards when anyone comes too close to the wearer.

The dress then retracts automatically when it senses that its wearer has been given enough room.

Its umbrella-inspired design and passive aggressive expansion might not win you any friends on the rush hour commute, but transport irritants such as sharp-edged bags, jostling elbows and flapping newspapers will become problems of the past.

On her website McDermott describes the dress as 'Urban Armour' to help women "assert control over their personal/public space."

Other designs from McDermott include a scarf with a built-in pollution sensor that automatically raises to cover the face of the wearer when it senses cigarette and traffic fumes, and a veiled hat that interferes with CCTV surveillance.

"Right now wearable technologies focus on the virtual world, (a smart watch can help you get fast news updates, or post to Facebook), but I am interested in how wearable technology can affect our daily, physical worlds," she told Relaxnews.

"These pieces all use technology as way to react to the world around you, and they react in a way that is expressive."


Urban Armor# 2: The Personal Space Dress from Kathleen McDermott on Vimeo.

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