Expanded Discourse mediates conversations

Expanded Discourse – created by Zoe Padgett and Gerardo Guerrero – is a project that employs inflatable clothing to visually mediate conversations.

According to Suzanne LaBarre of FastCoDesign, Expanded Discourse is equipped with a small fan, audio sensor, light sensor and an Atmel-based Arduino board.

“The billowing white suit inflates when someone wants to talk,” LaBarre explains.

“As the wearer speaks, the suit deflates, physically mimicking the thoughts being expelled. A plastic piece that attaches to the shoulder, and which activates the suit, acts like a ‘talking stick’ to give people their turn to talk.”

Guerrero says he and Padgett, who attend the Art Center College of Design in California, “were interested in the small, seemingly inconsequential daily exchanges.”

“Wearable technology enables us to not only quantify these fleeting transactions, but to hold and carry them with us,” he writes in a recent blog post.

“Perhaps we can feel the weight of a long-winded sentence, or refer back to a recent nudge. In this project, we investigated the possibility of making conversations physical and visual experiences.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.

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