Monarch considers how we can amplify our expression of emotion through the combination of wearable technology and our bodies. The prototype consists of two textile forms attached to the shoulders of the wearer. The forms provocatively expand and contract in response to the movement of the wearer’s muscles. This expressive act can communicate a change in emotional state to others nearby, and exaggerates the nuances of conventional body language.

While in the down position the object resembles two denim shoulder pads or epilets. When the user flexes their bicep muscle the textile quickly expands in size to reveal a colorful and visually complex pleated interior. The positioning of the form frames the person’s head and amplifies the presence of their body.

The prototype contains electromyography (EMG) sensors attached to the wearer’s arm. The sensors detect electrical activity in the wearer’s muscles. The sensor is then interpreted by a micro-controller which then sends a signal to motors causing the shoulder pads to expand.

This prototype is a part of the series Prosthetic Technologies of Being.