Anuradha Reddy
(dr. - she/her)

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I’m Anu! I research, make, craft, code, and sometimes, I hack things.

I’m Anu! I research, make, craft, code, and sometimes, hack things.

B00B-Factor Authentication in Banjara Embroidery 🧵

B00b-factor Authentication (suggested pronounciation ‘bee-zero-zero-bee’ or ‘bewb’) is a project about intimacy and trust. It incorporates a bra with NFC (near-field communication)︎︎︎ technology embroidered around the nipple area. Two NFC tags, one for each b00b, permit two-factor authentication. The right tag leads to this password-protected project weblink, and the left one provides the password to that link. Suppose a person wishes to activate the message behind the bra. In that case, they will need to actively participate in conveying trust and intimacy with the bra’s wearer. In getting close to the maker-wearer’s body, the b00b-factor authentication bra materialises the discomfort of seeking intimacy and trust with others you barely know.

The project combines two ongoing research practices of mine — open hardware and heritage crafts. In my most recent talk titled ‘Knotty (Naughty) Hardware︎︎︎ at the Open Hardware Summit 2022, I ended it with a Call to Action for bringing the Open Hardware community closer to heritage craft communities as a move toward generative justice︎︎︎. In this project, I introduce a heritage craft called ‘Banjara Embroidery’, prominent in my hometown Hyderabad (Telangana) and many other parts of India. This style of embroidery is a women-led craft by the Banjara community, well-known for their extraordinary skills in creating vibrant and joyful embellishments on worn garments and apparel. These embellishments frequently include mirrors, coins, pom-poms, and cowrie shells stitched directly onto the fabric (red or indigo cloth). This project focuses on reappropriating mirrorwork by including different kinds of Open Hardware on fabric, like resistors, LEDs, RFID/NFCs, antennas.

Here’s how it works!

To continue reading and to learn more about the project’s historical context, approach, and making process, click here ︎︎︎ (right NFC). The password is ‘banjara’ (left NFC).