If you've ever taken public transportation, stood in line at the post office, or have ever been anywhere that left you vulnerable to foreign body odor, "accidental" grazing, and the all too familiar "let me just tuck your tag back in," then you'll definitely want to add this new item to your shopping list.[jump]
It's called the Spike Away vest and it's the brainchild of industrial designer Siew Ming Cheng. Cheng developed the idea in 2011 as an undergraduate student at the National University of Singapore, where she attended a two-day workshop led by German furniture designer Werner Aisslinger.
The theme of the workshop was "Chindogu," a Japanese method of design that uses everyday problems to inspire innovative products. In this case, Cheng's number one problem was one we could all sympathize with: a serious lack of personal space.
"A quick brainstorming leads to a everyday situation. Trains are usually crowded during peak hours. Everybody will push each other to try and get onto the train. How can I protect my personal space? The idea was then conceived. 'What if I wear a vest that is full of spikes?'"
The prototype for the Spike Away vest is simple and mainly comprises the spiky, porous plastic material used, coincidentally, to repel pests from outdoor gardens.
Though the product technically is not for sale, we have to thank Cheng for letting us know that all it takes is a quick trip to Home Depot's gardening department and some DIY craftsmanship to keep unwanted human contact in check. Happy Holidays, indeed.