Co.Design

This Backpack Vaporizes Your Data And Puts You Behind A Smokescreen

Designer Ji Won Jun designed a wearables prototype that nods to privacy concerns.

One unintended consequence of wearable tech is that our data gets a lot more vulnerable. Physical contact and a swipe of a Google Glass may become an opportunity to steal everything from social media logins to credit card information. To defend against this possibility, MFA candidate Ji Won Jun, designed a system to vaporize data while you're on the go, with your backpack.

Created for a course at the Art Center College of Design and sponsored by the Intel Corporation, the project, called Data Vaporizer, is designed to fit in a backpack and it destroys your data (and potentially other people's data) through a wearable smoke machine.

In a nutshell, you wear an "inhaler" on your hand and its "proximity sensor" gets triggered when someone is too close or when you choose to breathe into the inhaler. The inhaler is connected to a motor connected to an Arduino board, which tells a valve inside your pack to rotate and blend hot water with dry ice (yes, inside your backpack, on your back) to create smoke. A fan pushes the smoke upward so it can get released through a not-so-secretive pipe that emerges from the top of your backpack.

You can use the machine in two ways. Either you can crush up your own data and buy yourself some personal space. Or you can go ahead and destroy the data of the unsavory thieves around you. What's cool is the concept of destroying your private data (and perhaps other people's private data) in a very public way while simultaneously creating a very private (smoky) space for yourself in public. The idea of shelter from hackers or the government—whomever you think is following you—is a smart way to tackle the privacy issues around our increasingly at-risk data.

Conceptually speaking, Jun wants the smoke to act as a metaphor, and make visible the things in our world that are usually invisible—again, while the inverse happens with your data. The backpack may not be as stylish as the Jetsons' ensembles, but if it prevents people from getting to our digital gold, it's worth a shot.

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