Data Vaporizer | Wearable Technology
Data Vaporizer is a speculative wearable device that intercepts and vaporizes personal data. The project imagines how people and wearable technologies might react to a future world where data sharing is pervasive, constant, and perhaps out of control.

Composed of a glove-type sensor and a smoke machine, the Data Vaporizer protects its owner by visibly vaporizing anyone else’s data before they can get to the owner’s data. The vaporized data creates a protective space where data thieves would be afraid to steal data for fear their own data would be destroyed.

+ Concept Background

The Issue of Data Security
As wearable technology continues to grow in popularity, various types of personal data become collectible by a wearable device. The data created by those devices are private and detailed, it is easy to be a target in hacker attacks. Since wearable sensors and devices are minimally functionalized for its wearability, and they send data to third parties through a wireless connection, the risk of potential data theft is more than a little. Also, according to the article, it is possible for a hacker to steal an encryption key of a device only by touching the device.

The Fear of Touch
In this regard, I was interested in that body contact with strangers not only makes people feel unpleased, but also could be considered as an attempt of data theft. According to Proxemics, the study of the impact of the use of space on interpersonal communication, each individual has a personal reaction bubble. People tend to feel uncomfortable when a stranger is in their personal and intimate spaces because unwanted physical contact could happen within these areas. Based on the relationship between a wearable device, data privacy, and Proxemics, Data Vaporizer explores a self-defensive wearable device to enable a user to protect his/her privacy in terms of both data and space.

+ Mechanism of Data Vaporizer

Intercepting Data
Data Vaporizer’s mechanism is inspired by the arts of hacking such as Man-in-the middle attack, and TV-be-gone, to intercept information or signal between a sender and a receiver. A user of Data Vaporizer is able to intercept data from a device and destroy it as a way to fight against data thieves.

Save Personal Space
The distance between a user and other people is a key in the use of Data Vaporizer. Under the assumption that a data thief could approach to people to steal personal data from their devices through a physical contact, Data Vaporizer is designed to operated by a wearable proximity sensor.

Data Inhaler & Smoke Machine
Based on the idea of blocking data thieves’ approach, the glove-type sensor named Data Inhaler is designed to allow a user to intercept data from a device within a 4ft radius (personal space). The inhaled data is sent to the Smoke Machine and vaporized to smoke.

+ User Scenarios

(1) Be defensive | Loss Cut
When a user is in an enclosed space like an elevator, and it is hard to avoid of physical contact of others, a user can use Data Vaporizer to delete and vaporize the one’s personal data. In this case, a user deletes him/her own data for protecting data privacy.

(2) Be aggressive | Attack Data Thevies
In an open area, Data Vaporizer enables a user to attack data thieves’ data and warn other strangers that “if you enter my personal zone without my permission your data will be destroyed.” Smoke of the vaporized data will temporarily make a visible space around the user and it will help to block strangers’ further approach.

+ Video - Interactions

+ Sketches

An initial design concept of Data Vaporizer was more like a steam-punk style haute couture dress that a number of pipes and hoses are attached. At that time, I focused on a poetic aspect of the relationship between smoke and deleted data and wanted to make a dramatic wearable device. In these sketches, people who wear Data Vaporizer are described like people wearing a cloud.

As I started making a prototype, design concept changed and became a backpack style. In order to realize the interaction of vaporization, I decided to use dry ice and hot water, and the backpack form was chosen for safety.

+ Prototype

Hot Water + Dry Ice
After smoke testing with e-cigarette's atomizer, humidifier and dry ice, I chose to use dry ice and hot water to make a thick smoke in a very short time.

Data Inhaler and Smoke Machine
An Arduino, servo, fan, proximity sensor, acrylic, moldable plastic, metal gas valves, and form cords are used to make the prototype. The frame of the structure is built with acrylic sheets by laser cutting. The proximity sensor works as a switch, so when an object is detected by the proximity sensor, the servo connected with the Arduino opens the metal gas valve in order to supply hot water to dry ice. Then, the fan starts performing to puff out the smoke.

+ Video - Demo

+ Intel Press Event

+ Featured on
This Backpack Vaporizes Your Data And Puts You Behind A Smokescreen | Fast Co Design
Data Vaporizer smoke machine makes the invisible visible | PSFK
Information - protecting Backpacks | Trend Hunter
5 cool 'wearable' prototypes that might be the next Google Glass | KPCC - Southern California Public Radio
The future of wearables: nail art, expressive hats and a smoke machine | memburn
Red os fra wearable-teknologien | TECH | Danish
Dispositivos vestibles serán más eficientes | Excelsior | Spanish
Morning Russia | 1:30 - 2:02 | National Internet Channel | Russian
[21세기형 교육 현장을 가다] 기존 학습법 파괴…'혁신 학교' 잘 나간다 | Korea Daily Los Angeles | Korean

Class: Wearable Ecologies, Lab Project, SP14
Instructors: Ben Hooker, Phillip van Allen
Sponsored by Intel
Presentation photos by Sangli Li, Jenny Rodenhouse and Jay Hong