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Your lifestyle, your quirk
We’re all different individuals with unique experiences and life stories, but we have all experienced one thing unanimously: invasion of personal space. With more cities facing overpopulation problems, it seems city dwellers have difficulty maintaining our personal space. If you walk in any city, you’re likely to be bumped into or touched by people you don’t know. It makes you uncomfortable, especially when you’re forced to stand so close to someone that you can smell their B.O. Yuck!
Asia is the most populated continent in the world, so it’s not surprising that one Asian country has created a device that repels those people who invade our space. Zac Ong of Singapore just came out with a project called Repel, a device that uses DC motors, Servo motors, LED light, and laser to express how a wearer feels about their personal space at any given moment. If the device feels that a person is too close to the wearer, the technology will use certain lights to alert the stranger of this invasion—sort of like a proximity alert device.
Ong was inspired to create Repel after realizing how out of control the population of Singapore had become. It’s a very small country with a large population, so everything requires a lot of patience with people.
Ong explained that, “Everyday people are squeezing into a subway, elevator, and public transport. It’s so common that we adopt [it] into our routine. People become busy with their everyday life and tend to neglect this, so with Repel, [he] intended to bring up this issue and hopefully raise public awareness.”
But Ong’s goal in Repel was not to literally repel people from one another. He wants to preserve relationships and bring back social norms about use of space. When people feel uncomfortable with overcrowding, they feel insecure and stressed. Ong realizes it’s awkward for others to say something to those invading their space, so Repel would do the talking for them. He said he intends to create a “comfort gap” among people.
Repel makes people more aware of their spatial usage and, in turn, makes us more comfortable with one another. Instead of being anxious and annoyed with the world when we are in an overcrowded space, we could be calm and secure. We may even be friendlier with one another—what a concept!
Repel has the ability to give us our space back while also helping us to live with each other and keep population frustrations at a minimum.