Humanising Technology: Jasna Rok’s Lab Presents (RE)Connect

In a world where we are more disconnected from each other, Jasna Rok Labs has developed (RE)Connect ​a unique emotional intelligent fashion technology piece that will help us not lose the sensation of the people around us.

In theory, technology should connect us more to each other, but in reality, it has been separating us. Herein lies a paradox that Jasna Rok might have solved with​ a unique emotional intelligent fashion technology piece that could help us not lose the sensation of the people around us.

Jasna Rokegem​ is the founder of Jasna Rok, a speculative design lab that works at the intersection of fashion, technology and science. Applying technology and science to fashion, she has been exploring new dimensions of human interactions and building prototypes that could help us understand ourselves and others better.

Image Credit: Jasna Rok

An Artist in Residence at Nokia Bell Labs, Jasna has been working on an exciting project that is focused on emotion tech, a new field that is creating new business models and applications built on human emotion. Jasna, who launched the first Fashion Tech design lab in Belgium, believes that instead of sending emojis, pictures or words, we should (Re)connect with new modes of empathic communication. What Rok means is that it is better to use an interface that offers a real-time emotional haptic layer with the ability to enhance a person and their emotional understanding of him or herself and his or her peers.

(RE)Connect, A New Way For Human’s To Communicate

(RE)Connect is a first of its kind. The emotion identifier is augmenting humans emotionally by creating new levels of empathic communication. The emotional reactive fashion piece can identify and track emotions by speech and then give real-time visual and haptic feedback to the wearer and the wearer’s environment. Jasna, who is fascinated by space and the idea of having one unique garment which becomes a living organism on its own, believes that the emotion identifier will enable humans to create more tangible connections. It will also teach them how to apply this newly gained knowledge on themselves and others.

“The emotional reactive fashion piece can identify and track emotions by speech and then give real-time visual and haptic feedback to the wearer and the wearer’s environment.”

When it comes to building deeper emotional connections between people, Jasna is humanising technology through deep engineering / scientific engagement with the arts. By doing so, she has been able to come up with the sentient garment which acts as a smart fashionable augmented skin. It is capable of enveloping its wearer with an intimate and expanded perception of himself/herself (health, emotions, thoughts), people, things, the world, and other communicating garments. All the physical senses, such as haptic and tactile interfaces are explored to create novel modes of communication.

Jasna at NASA Image Credit: Jasna Rok

Creating New Concepts and Inspiring Cross-industry Innovation

Jasna views clothing as adding a new dimension of interaction and communication of self-expression. She told FashNerd.com: “I see many possible applications for human augmentation through fashion tech in mental well-being, not only here on earth, but also in outer space”. She continues: “If we’re to become a space-travelling people, we will have to consider the impact on our own emotions as well as for those we leave behind. Our mental health might become one of the most important pieces in making this a success. That is why we’re discussing a collaboration with NASA as a next step.”

“I consider clothing as an extension of ourselves. When we apply technology currently available to us smartly, we can work towards a future where we could wear our clothes as an interface to the outer world.”

Working at the forefront of emotion tech, the award-winning pioneer, known for combining innovative fashion and cutting-edge technology, is excited to present the emotion identifier and simulator to the fashion industr. She said: “​I consider clothing as an extension of ourselves. When we apply technology currently available to us smartly, we can work towards a future where we could wear our clothes as an interface to the outer world, able to receive responses to our innermost feelings. Clothing can, therefore, add a new dimension of interaction and the communication of self-expression and how we deal with our identity.”

Adding: “Neuroscience​ is teaching us that’s​ self-expression’​ might be one – if not the most important way for people to connect, navigate and grow with each other. Fashion can offer unique and personalised experiences to all, augmenting us as people and enabling communication on previously unknown levels. These future garments can help to understand ourselves and others better; they can learn us how to communicate with each other and to decode human emotions better.”

ALSO READ: Everyone’s Talking About Jasna Rok Right Now, And Here Is Why

When it comes to creating new concepts and inspiring cross-industry innovation Jasna has always been driven to help decision-makers in different industries imagine how to come up with more sustainable solutions. Her most recent work has been inspired and supported by the work at Experiments in Art and Technology at Nokia Bell Labs. The most exciting part is that she is not building the future alone, big on collaborations, she has been working with partners, ​Wulf-fx​ , Hans Boodt mannequins​, ​Empath​ and ​SMC Pneumatics​.

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Founding editor-in-chief & WearableTechStylist of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta has worked in the fashion industry for over 14 years. She is currently one of the leading influencers speaking and writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology and a regular contributor to digital news sites like Wareable.