Nudgeables Accessory Kit

Sometimes we need secret codes to communicate with our friends, partners, or colleagues while in the company of a larger group of people: a nudge, a cough, a scratch of the nose; something that says “save me from this conversation”, “let’s get out of here”, or “I’m thinking of you”.  What if our clothing could communicate these messages for us? 

Nudgeables in action!

What is Nudgeables?

The Nudgeables Accessory Kit is a modular hardware kit for creating paired sets of wireless wearable accessories.  A single Nudgeables device employs a pre-configured wireless radio transceiver with a sensor input and an output for a “notifier” (actuator).  The flexible design allows for you to attach a wide variety of sensors and actuators to the board to create custom sensory and feedback systems.  By creatively embedding wireless communication into yours and your friend/partner/colleague’s garments, you are able to secretly “nudge” each other at a distance.

Nudgeables Accessory Kit

Who made Nudgeables?

This project was developed at the Social Body Lab at OCAD University in Toronto in collaboration with Aesthetec Studio. Research Assistants on the project were Erin Lewis, Jackson McConnell, Hillary Predko, Ryan Maksymic, Borzu Talaie. Funding was provided by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Initial designs created using the Nudgeables Accessory Kit were made by the following commissioned designers:

  • Mystica Cooper | Fashion Designer
  • Angella Mackey | Fashion Designer
  • Joanne Jin | Textile Designer
  • Larry Kwok | Emerging Industrial Designer
  • Jackson McConnell | Industrial Designer
  • Carl Penny | Fetish Wear Designer
  • Greg Phillips | Emerging Jewelry Designer
  • Erin Lewis | New Media Artist
  • Mike Doell| Industrial Designer
  • Hillary Predko | Textile Designer

Jackson McConnell

T-shirt and necklace by Jackson McConnell

This design is a t-shirt and pendant pair.  When the wearer touches the pendant to a conductive patch on the breast of the shirt, a Nudge is sent.  A Nudge is received on the chest, where the Vibration Board and Main Board are affixed on the inside of the shirt.

Materials: T-shirt, wood, conductive fabric, chain

Mystica Cooper

Bespoke shirt by Mystica Cooper

This button-down shirt contains a fully embedded Nudgeables circuit.  The Main Board is housed in a pocket square that sits in the left breast pocket, and the connector cable runs through the garment via hidden grommets.  The Button Board is sewn into the cuff of the left arm, and the Vibration Board sits with the Main Board in the pocket square.

Materials: Linen, thread, notions

Hillary Predko

Headband by Hillary Predko

This headband uses the bridging of two pom-poms made with conductive thread as the switch.  When the two pom-poms touch each other via the action of fiddling with the headband behind the ear, a Nudge is sent.  The Main Board and the Vibration Board are housed atop the head, beneath the band of pom-poms, and are isolated from skin and hair by a layer of leather.

Materials: Plastic headband, leather, yarn, fabric, thread, conductive thread

Gregory Phillips

Wearable sand timer by Gregory Phillips

This is a unique jewelry piece that uses small particles of sterling silver dust to close a switch as it falls from top to bottom in this wearable sand timer.  In this way, a Nudge is sent inconsistently as the particles of silver make sporadic electrical connections.  The Main Board and Vibration Board are housed in a soft pocket that gets clipped to the back of a shirt or to the pants line.

Materials: Biodegradable plastic, sterling silver dust, copper wire, chain

Carl Penny

Fetish garment by Carl Penny

This is a fetish garment made of laser-cut, laser-etched leather.  The Main Board and battery sit in one of the leather belt pockets, the Button Board sits in an adjacent pocket, and a vibrating motor is attached to the, ahem, groin of the design.  This design uses interesting electrical connections by sourcing components for other purposes.  The vibrating motor is connected to the Main Board by use of aircraft cable, which is conductive.  The cable is attached to the design via snaps, which are also conductive.  Thus the circuitry becomes integrated into the overall aesthetics and design of the piece.

Materials: Leather, metal, aircraft cable, notions

Angella Mackey

Beadwork necklace by Angella Mackey

This necklace has been inspired by Native American beadwork.  The necklace encloses the Main Board, Vibration Board, and Button Board at the back of the design.  As the wearer plays with the necklace in their hands, s/he is able to press the button to send a Nudge, or is able to feel the Nudge in their hands or on their core.  Elastic pockets on the back of the pendant allow for the easily sliding in and out of the Nudgeables components.

Materials: Beads, string, elastic

Joanne Jin

Belt by Joanne Jin

On this aluminium belt buckle, the largest metal node is actually a button and can be pressed in order to send a Nudge to its pair.  The Main Board sits on the underside of the belt buckle and the Vibration Board is sewn at the hip, between the inner and outer layer of leather.  The subtle gesture of adjusting one’s belt becomes a means to communicate at a distance.

Materials: Leather, aluminium, thread

Erin Lewis

Wool socks by Erin Lewis

In these knit socks conductive thread has been integrated with the yarn in the toe cap area.  The subtle gesture of touching one’s big toes together will send a Nudge, and a received Nudge can be felt along the upper band of the sock, on the outside of the calf.  This design includes a knit pocket on the outside of the calf to hold the Main Board and the battery.

Materials: Wool yarn, conductive thread

Mystica Cooper

Tie by Mystica Cooper

This tie is intended for stylish guys with day jobs.  The Button Board is sewn between the front and back layers of fabric and sits in the tip.  The connector cable runs along one of the folded edges of the tie and connects to the Main Board which sits in a pocket on the back, midway between neck and belt line.  The Vibration Board is stitched 2 inches above the Main Board; a Nudge is felt on the solar plexus.

Materials: Designer Fabric, thread, notions


Dance part socks by Lawrence Kwok

This set of socks can allow two people to simultaneously dance and Nudge one another by closing soft switches across each pair of socks.  The soft switches are made of conductive fabric and are connected to the Main Board by conductive thread.  The Vibration Boards are located on the lateral side at the top of the sock.  There are fabric pockets to house the Main Board in each sock.

Materials: Cotton socks, ribbon, lace, thread, notions

Mike Doell

Bracelet by Mike Doell

The switches in these 3D printed bracelets are mercury tilt switches.  When the wearer moves their arm in space, a mercury tilt switch is erratically closed and sends a series of Nudges to its partner.  All electronics are housed internally in the bracelet design, including the Vibration Board.  A Nudge is therefore felt on the wrist, through the plastic body of the bracelet.

Materials: PLA, wood

Angella Mackey

‘Lee’ Collar by Angella Mackey

This stylish collar has been created using dangling pieces of fabric and metal chains.  The metal chains act as a unique DIY switch.  When the wearer plays with the material of the collar and touches the two pieces of metal chain together, a Nudge is sent to its pair.  A Nudge is received at the back of the neck where the Vibration Board is hidden in the fabric of the collar.  The Main Board and battery also sit at the back of the neck.

Materials: Fabric, gunmetal chain, thread, notions

Jackson McConnell

Shirt by Jackson McConnell

On this shirt the small red square of fabric on the pocket is the indicator for where the Button Board is attached.  When the button is pressed, a Nudge is sent.  The Vibration Board and Main Board are sewn into a pocket inside the shirt, and a Nudge can be felt on the chest.

Materials: Shirt, small piece of red fabric

Carl Penny

Fetish belt by Carl Penny

This is a belt and garter pair that Laura Croft might wear.  The Main Board and battery sit in one of the pockets on the belt, the Button Board is in an adjacent pocket, and a Nudge is felt on the inner thigh, where the Vibration Board is attached to the garter.

Materials: Leather, metal, aircraft cable, notions

Erin Lewis

Scarf by Erin Lewis

This is a machine-knit scarf.  When the wearer crosses the two pink sections of the scarf, a Nudge is sent.  Each pink section of the design has conductive thread knit in with the yarn, thus acting as two parts of a switch.  The Main Board and the Vibration Board sit in one end of the scarf, where a received Nudge can be felt.

Materials: Wool yarn, conductive thread, thread, wire

Joanne Jin

Gemstone belt by Joanne Jin

On this brass belt buckle the largest gemstone is actually a button that can be pressed in order to send a Nudge to its pair. The Main Board sits on the underside of the belt buckle and the Vibration Board is sewn at the hip, between the inner and outer layer of leather.  The subtle gesture of adjusting one’s belt becomes a means to communicate at a distance.

Materials: Leather, brass, gemstones, thread

The original Nudgeables

The original designs were developed by Kate Hartman and Hazel Meyer, which consisted of two wearables, a garter and a brooch, that wirelessly communicate with one another using X-bee radios. The garter and brooch sent and received covert messages in the form of a vibration. To send a message, the wearer of the garter simply crossed their legs. When they received a message, the tiny motor in the garter began to vibrate creating a tapping sensation on the thigh.

Original nudgeables consisting of a garter and a brooch

Additional workshops using the Nudgeables Accessory Kits have taken place at Espacio Telefonica in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Etopia in Zaragoza, Spain; Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design in Copenhagen, Denmark; ITP/NYU in New York, New York.

The research report can be found here: