Jingyi Li, Michelle Nguyen, Joanne Lo, Nick Renda, Diane Wang

UC Berkeley's Critical Making 2016

Website  /  Software  /  Write-up

Adshirt transforms your body into a monetization platform. Companies compete for your advertising space through online bids—and you cash out. Build your reputation with trusted reviews, and ensure a profitable minimum bid by spending time near densely populated spaces. Wear the marketing revolution.

The snapchat logo on someone's shirt, since they are using Adshirt
Adshirt in action.
A screenshot of the Adshirt bidding platform
The Adshirt web interface.

Adshirt was a project for Critical Making's final provocation, the wearable. Inspired by tech shirts, Adshirt critiques the relationship between individuality and capitalism. Where do we draw the the line between sacrificing personal expression and making money? As wearables become more intimate and prevalent, Adshirt probes users to explore the nuanced relationships between aesthetics, neoliberalism, and their body.

The enclosure to hide all hardware elements required for Adshirt
The Adshirt enclosure, with the components (Raspberry Pi + WiFi dongle + Camera module, Adafruit RGB Matrix Hat, battery) inside.
The Adshirt display, a high resolution LED matrix
The Adshirt display: a 3D printed casing for Adafruit's LED Matrix, with velcro straps to attach to your body.

How it works

Storyboard; left to right : user puts on Adshirt; User appears on Adshirt website, Companies bid on user; Winning company's ad is displayed on the user. User earns money.

From a technical standpoint, we use a Meteor.js server to set up API end points which communicate with the Raspberry Pi inside the Adshirt. Each round, the winning bid's advertisement is posted to this API, and the Pi then displays it. The communication is two-way: the Pi also sends photographs and the 'popularity metric' to the webserver.

Software features

User Accounts
Register and log-in, change your avatar, keep track of funds, and save ads.

Ad creation
Support for user generated text ads, image ads, saved previous ads, or canned GIF ads.

User Reviews
Build your reputation, and feel confident about who you're bidding on.

Interactive Bids
Dynamically see the highest bidders each round.

Local Information
See how many people are nearby the Adshirt user, their current location, and even a camera feed of their Adshirt, to make the most informed bid possible.


Know how much you're making, straight to your phone.