responsive user body suit (RUBS) 

an extension of the human form.

By: Kiran Bhumber & Bob Pritchard

The Responsive User Body Suit, or RUBS system, is a tactile interface worn by a performer. This system allows a user to process audio output in real time, simultaneously triggering and manipulating audio samples by controlling fabric strip potentiometers sewn onto the suit. Discrete and continuous audio changes are generated through two different motions of contact; touch and stroking.


The RUBS design is influenced by Lakoff and Johnson’s theory of embodied cognition and the primordial touch sensation. The body’s influence on the mind necessitates an understanding of our senses, our motor system, and neural mechanisms. As such, the RUBS system acts as an interface between dualisms; the organic (touch) and electronically generated (sound), and the unconscious (thoughts of user) and conscious (thoughts of user and audience). Additionally, the RUBS system makes the previously intangible (thoughts, emotions), perceptible via touch triggers and audio output.


Dancer Sarah Wasik demo of the RUBS interface (November 2016)

Using conductive and resistive fabric, each of the suits is tailored to a specific user since they need to be able to touch the entire length of the sensor.  

Research and development of the suit and software at the University of British Columbia's Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (November 2016)