By Ramona Caprariu, Kylie Caraway, and Sana Shepko
FlattEar Me is a wearable device that takes the form of earmuffs. FlattEar Me’s literally keep you warm and fuzzy at all times, from the large, wool earmuffs, to the sweet sounding compliments whispered in your ear. When feeling distressed or looking for reassurance, the user presses the button behind their ear and a compliment will play.
FlattEar Me is made for users of all ages. They are best used in cold weather. FlattEar Me’s are most often used outside, during commutes, and in solitude. Compliments play as little or as often as desired; the user is in control of the admiration given.
FlattEar Me would not have been made without the help of Adafruit’s music maker feather wing, the Compliment Generator, and Brit + Co’s pom pom ear muffs tutorial. Adafruit gave a step by step tutorial to help users with the music maker feather wing, from soldering the right pieces, to diagrams of the different pins available, to downloading the proper libraries and giving example code with fantastic notes and references. The Compliment Generator gave us a script to work off of for our compliments. While we used some homemade compliments, we also used some of their compliments within our project. Brit + Co’s tutorial provided a different reference, as it helped us gather materials and form a product that we felt was capable of hiding the hardware components within the material. We were also mesmerized by the photo of the dog with the pom pom earmuffs.
While we moved away from using biometric data to send compliments when the user is upset or stressed, we were motivated by other wearable technology that uses biometric data as an input. The AWElectric is a wearable technology that renders visual and tactile signals through lights and fractal goosebumps that raise out of the clothing when the user is in awe.
We would be remiss to not include where we first received the idea of complimenting accessories: 20th Century Fox’s Aquamarine (2006). In this film, a mermaid by the name of Aquamarine totes starfish earrings that give her compliments. She declares, “They literally give me compliments – in my ear. They talk to me. Starfish are notorious suck-ups. They love to give compliments. But it’s nice when you need a little boost.”
Compliments are an important aspect of our social lives. According to Psychology Today, if compliments are given correctly, “they create so much positive energy that they make things happen almost as if by magic” (Marano 2004). “Focusing on and noticing the good qualities in the world around us gives our moods a boost all by itself” (Marano 2004). Earmuffs are also considered one of the most popular inventions, as they received attention on HowStuffWork’s Stuff of Genius for keeping millions of ears warm and toasty. Therefore, the combination of earmuffs and compliments can keep people warm and fuzzy on the inside and outside!