For centuries, moisturizer has been used for hydrating the skin, lipstick for coloring our lips, mascara for defining eyelashes. Several technologies have improved the manufacturing process of beauty products, but in the end their function has not changed over time. My proposal is to add a new function to beauty products, exploring them in relation to their use as wearable computers.Beauty Technology is a novel wearable-computing subfield that integrates electronics into beauty products applied directly to one’s skin, fingernails, and hair. In this way, the body’s surface becomes an interactive platform. Conductive Makeup, Tech Nails, Hairware and FX e-makeup are beauty technologies.
Felipe Esteves, a 33-year-old masters student who was a jujitsu world champion, inspired this project. He injured himself during a training session thirteen years ago. Since then he has a quadriplegic disability and depends on others to do common tasks such as changing TV channels. The idea is to take Beauty Technology to people with disabilities in hospitals. Instead of using wearables that have the electronics noticeable and are reminiscent of cyborgs, we will use Beauty Technology. Thus, users will have the confidence that beauty products give them but at the same time, they could be sufficiently independent to do simple tasks such as turning on devices. In this way beauty products will not just enhance their appearance, they also give them super-powers.
The Conductive Makeup and FX e-makeup are beauty technologies used in this project. We focus on the human agency to control facial muscles. In this way a voluntary movement will trigger appliances such as an air-conditioning, a television or a smartphone. Conductive makeup uses black conductive eyeliner to connect conductive false eyelashes to a circuit. These work like a switch, which is off when the eye is open, and, on when the eye is closed. The conductive eyelashes are given a metallic coating in order to mimic the natural black color of eyelashes. FX e-makeup uses special-effects makeup to hide sensors on the face that sense its muscles, looking like a second skin. The FX e-makeup sensors are switches that turn on when the skin furrows or creases. Kinisi shows the feasibility of this technology by answering the question, “Could your skin act as an interface?” A video shows the use of FX e-makeup for activating different light patterns with a smile, wink, raising the eyebrows and closing the lips.
Katia Vega (PE) is a beauty-tech designer. Inspired by invisible computing, wearables and magic, she proposes novel ways to move from traditional to interactive cosmetics. Conductive Makeup, Tech Nails, Hairware and FX e-makeup are her beauty technologies that transform the body in an interactive platform. She is a postdoc in computer science at PUC-Rio (Brazil), where she also received her PhD and masters degrees. She received a BSc from UNMSM (Peru). She was a research assistant at HKBU (Hong Kong). Her work has been covered by the New Scientist, Wired, Discovery, CNN, PSFK and others.
Beauty Tech Designer: Katia Vega
Special thanks to my advisor Prof. Hugo Fuks for his support and guidance in this project, to Felipe Esteves for being our inspiration, Hugo Rojas for his support in the process of metalizing the eyelashes, and to the Kinisi video collaborators: director and editor, Juan Carlos Yanaura; electronics assistant, Abel Arrieta; make-up and character designer, Larca Meicap; model, Gabriella Chávez; producer, Pamela Ramos; cinematographer, Cesar Fajardo; camera assistant and gaffer, Renzo Rivas; lighting technicians, Iván Pflucker and Diego Valdivia; hairstyling, Carla Gonzales; music, Maribel Tafur.