Anouk Wipprecht Debuts Drinkbot Dress in Toronto

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon hanging out with internationally acclaimed fashion tech designer Anouk Wipprecht in Toronto. Wipprecht was speaking the Art Gallery of Ontario for Terroir, a swanky event celebrating art, culture, and technology. She also brought along a brand new dress, called Drinkbot Dress. Drinkbot Dress allows its wearer to decide who to serve a shot to (and who to leave dry).

Drinkbot Dress-1

A playful take on the cocktail dress, Drinkbot is made of leather and electronic components housed inside parts that look as though they were 3D printed, but Wipprecht tells me they were actually made through a process called sintering.

Like 3D printing, selective laser sintering (SLS) is an additive manufacturing technology, but it begins with powder rather than filament and uses a laser and heat to fuse together the different layers. Drinkbot is equipped with a backpack that nests all the tubing and wiring inside, and a small pouch that holds the mixed drink liquid (for Terroir, it was gin and tonic). The heart-shaped centrepiece at the front of the dress holds the shot glass in place while the drink is poured.

Drinkbot Dress-4

The Dress was originally created for entertainment company Cirque du Soleil, and the heart-shaped front piece was made in the shape of the Heart Ibiza logo for their live dinner and entertainment experience.

Heart Ibiza
Courtesy of Anouk Wipprecht
Heart Ibiza-2
From the Heart Ibiza website

Drinkbot Dress is a streamlined adaption on one of Wipprecht’s earlier designs, called DareDroid (2011). Created in collaboration with Jane Tingley and Marius Kintel, DareDroid combined medical technology, customized hardware, and human biometrics to offer an entertaining experience. The human host and the robotic dress work together to provide you with a cocktail in exchange for a game of truth or dare.

DareDroid by Anouk Wipprecht
DareDroid by Anouk Wipprecht

With DareDroid, sensors around the wearer’s neck detect the presence of others and enable the technological system to dispense non-alcoholic liquid based on proximity using the rules of proxemics introduced by Edward T Hall in 1966, which measures the distance between intimate space (0 – 18 inches or 0 – 46 cm) and personal space (1.5 – 4 feet – 46 cm – 120 cm).

The developers leveraged these distances to create rules that define interactions with DareDroid. LED’s on the robotic dress indicates your proximity to the human host, and if you breach her intimate space the system shuts down, preventing any liquid from flowing through. However, if you remain at a respectful distance, the sensors activate the pouring of a non-alcoholic liquid. Once the liquid has been poured, you’re invited to play a touch phone-based game of Truth or Dare. If you complete the game to the host’s satisfaction, she can choose to add alcohol.

While Drinkbot dress omits the game of truth or dare, it’s no less provoking.  “Are your boobs going to poor me a drink?” one attendee asked the model.

Drinkbot Dress-3
Don’t miss Anouk Wipprecht at Digifest this Thursday, April 29. 

Amanda Cosco
Amanda is a freelance journalist and consultant focused on the intersection of fashion and technology and the founder of Electric Runway.