A wearable that mantles the user into a VPN-protecting cover


Duration: 1 week, spring 2017

individual project

Type: Experimental


In the future everyone should expect to be tracked and monitored. However, so far people have shown little effort to change their behaviours to promote the adoption of privacy. In fact, there is a tendency for people to be willing to give up some of their privacy for advantages in terms of convenience and speed. 


This project attempts to raise awareness for privacy preservation in public space, particularly in places that offer free, yet unsecured Wi-Fi. Such places are prone to be intercepted by hackers and others who want to harm you virtually. One way to stand against those man-in-the-middle attacks in unsecured networks is to encrypt one’s connection with a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN creates tunnelled communication between the user’s Internet running device and the servers. Through this, basic anonymity can be granted in public


Outcome of this project is a wearable that enables users to visit the Internet through an encrypted Internet connection. This Kimono activates your subscribed VPN service through skin contact with conductive fabric. The electronics implemented inside the Kimono consist of a Raspberry Pi micro-controller that functions as a VPN router between the user and the Internet. Furthermore, a sensor board equipped with capacitive touch electrodes that is mounted on the Raspberry Pi, captures motion by measuring changing electrical current as the conductive fabric, and conductive threads connect and disconnect while touching the fabric. This touch interaction activates as well as deactivates the VPN router. When the user puts on or takes off the Kimono, he/she gets notified about the VPN activation or deactivation through sound notification. Furthermore, when wearing the Kimono, the VPN router also provides others around the user access to the VPN service as well. Therefore, non-supporting VPN devices can also run through this router for a more secured connection. What’s problematic about this wearable is that the wearer might have the false sense of security and privacy while connected to the VPN service. However, the VPN does not provide ultimate security and privacy; it is only a step towards it.