Reacting to positive touch

Alison Lewis created Closer, a project that reinforces values of kindness, fun and play through positive touch. The project consists of two garments that she completed for her thesis work at Parsons in New York.

As described by Lewis: "Current technologies lack the larger social and emotional languages of our senses: touch, taste, and smell. Of the basic senses, direct human touch is fundamental to our well being. Touch gives and receives comfort and joy; it also expresses love, care and support. The physical and emotional disconnect which occurs with the lack of positive touch denies us of the richness of the human experience." As a response, Lewis created two garments. The first is Patsy, a pullover that translates touch to sound. It responds to gestures such as hugging or gently holding the wearer. The second is Filly, a garment that translates touch to light. The light changes and represents the number of positive touches. It even reacts to a lack of touch.

What is intriguing about this is the concept of using technology to affect social behavior. Not only is the technology aesthetically integrated into the garment, the function is used to express and reinforce positive behavior between people.