Social Fabrics: Wearable + Media + Interconnectivity

The premise of the I.E.D. (Improvised Empathetic Device) project is to give real presence to the death and violence occurring in the Middle East by creating direct physical pain from the event of each soldier's death, rather than allowing that death to be relegated to small or no print. I.E.D. is a wearable computing device that is connected wirelessly to a server running custom data-mining software. Within a black armband, hardware consists of a custom circuit board modeled after a map of Iraq and powered by a nickel cadmium battery, a modified alphanumeric text pager, and a solenoid linear actuator. A custom software application continuously monitors the web for accumulation and personal details of slain U.S. soldiers in real time. When new deaths are detected the data is extracted and sent wirelessly to the I.E.D. armband. The LCD readout displays each soldiers' name, rank, cause of death, and location and then triggers an electric solenoid to drive a needle into the wearer's arm, drawing blood and immediate attention to the reality that someone has just died in a war that is raging far away. A non-wearable art work that is a companion piece to I.E.D. is Notepad, which deals with Iraqi civilian casualties.

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Updated 22 July 2009