Wearable technology is keeping the Redmond Company on its toes, it seems. After the fitness band and Project HoloLens, it is the turn of Microsoft Scarf that can be controlled by your smartphone. Dubbed SWARM (Sensing Whether Affect Requires Mediation), this scarf is a mood regulator and can help you to stay happy.
The SWARM was presented at Stanford University Conference, ‘Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction’ and is made of industrial modules made of felt. Topped with conductive copper taffeta, part of it gets heated up while some of its elements are capable to vibrate. The modules connect with the master controller in the form of a chain, which is tethered with the smartphone app. The metal snaps at the end of scarf’s corners let users rearrange and customize the modules as well as the look. So, if you want the vibration nearby your neck muscles for relief, you can do that. Need some warmth around shoulders, no problem either!
The Microsoft scarf gets feed from body’s emotional responses and acts accordingly. The vibration and the warmth are in response to the emotions tracked.
It can soothe when you are really feeling down. The SWARM is currently a prototype and is actually a laser-cut garment. The research for the scarf was based on people with autism, visually and hearing-challenged. If this work gets realized and released, this can help patients, autistic kids and disabled to calm down and manage their feelings well. Since autistic kids cannot communicate well, the SWARM can help the caregivers to provide them the best care and not leave it on the interpretation. For people, mood swings may not be much of a thing to be bothered about but in medical territory where a huge communication gap between patients and response lies in between, it can work wonder.
The SWARM is the next and advanced-level technical leap to the scarves we get at local pharmacy store. The barebones are circuits and you need to wear it with a sleeve, which also keep it subtle without letting people know that you have electronic circuits all over you.
Microsoft SWARM is also expected to be compatible with other sensors and biometric devices to control the temperature of the scarf. Connection with the biometric sensor may also help the scarf to shoot up the heat when the person happens to be in bad mood.
Price and release of Microsoft scarf
The inventors, Asta Roseway and her intern student, Michele Williams worked on this mood-sensing scarf. Roseway with her colleague Mary Czerwinski pitched the idea of SWARM along with a mood ring and mood jacket to Microsoft and only the former got through. Since it was a concept that was undertaken for the University’s internship, there is no official confirmation whether it will ever see the light of the day or not.
However, Williams wanted to work on the project and add some more features such as the ability to cool off the user. As sweat is also an indication of stress and anxiety, this is also an effect of body’s response system. Similarly, Williams also want to add up music player that would suggest playlists in accordance with the wearer’s mood.