RESHAPE19 | Cognified matter
Smart Product category
The midas ecosystem

Designers: Hongyi Ouyang, Nikolai Kozak, Sonali Kathuria, Victoria Terribile, Sayali Tarnekar


By 2050, more than a billion people are projected to undergo displacement due to environmental and geopolitical factors. As a result, major socio-political upheavals are likely to make sensitive infrastructure vulnerable to decay and misuse. A prime example of this phenomenon is the continued use of soviet-era BPMK reactors, a design with a questionable track record (Chernobyl). As a result, accidents rooted in infrastructural decay will continue to occur – this, combined with increasingly volatile weather patterns, and hazardous levels of pollution, poses challenges to human survival that cannot be surmounted without an evolution of our nervous/sensory organs. During these trying times, the five human senses including touch, taste, sound, smell, and sight, may not be enough to keep people safe from their hazardous environment.

Introduce MIDAS: an ecology of devices that act as an enhancement of the human senses by giving the body the ability to sense what it normally couldn’t. Through the use of biosensors and conductive ink tattoos, the body becomes an interface to sense potential environmental risks and translate that into a haptic language to inform the wearer of their surroundings. The device senses radiation, air pollution, and UV radiation levels, as well as water quality and potability. The implanted sensors on the finger wirelessly communicate with the tattoo through a pod that is semi-embedded into the wearer’s wrist (acting as the central brain), which then translates what is sensed into a language of vibrations of varying intensities delivered via the tattoo (conductive ink) and embedded diodes. The location and
intensity of the vibration provides detailed information about the conditions of the surrounding environment, telling the wearer that it is safe to proceed with their action, or alert them to go elsewhere. The pod itself consists of two components: embedded magnets under the skin which “pin” the pod to the skin, and the “brain” (microcontroller, antenna, and battery), which can be removed from the wrist to turn off the device or replaced with an updated pod as time goes on and technology advances.


In times of crisis and recovery, MIDAS will be provided as a government funded health device to those within affected zones, installed by medical professionals. Considering the average costs for the components of the device, as a current 2019 estimation, the cost of one MIDAS device would be about $550AUD. This does not account for the manufacturing, shipping, or labour costs, but is a general cost for the separate various components within the device. As time goes on and technology advances, it is assumed that these amounts will decrease.
Although this device will not prevent the cataclysms it seeks to shed light on, it gives people the ability to stay aware and safe while living in affected areas with a better insight of their surroundings. Rather than a cumbersome wearable detector, MIDAS’ sleek semi-implanted design allows for the skin itself  to become a re-parametrized device with the least interruption to the wearer’s daily life.