One of the objects Sara Hendren profiles on her blog, Abler, is the “Spike Away”. At first glance, one might think that the vest is some sort of fashion statement. However, the vest really was designed as a mechanism of creating personal space. The picture on the blog shows a woman wearing the “Spike Away” on what seems to be some sort of public transportation system. The vest is made up of several panels of bright green spikes that cover the front, back, and side of the woman.
I can’t imagine the spikes would be sharp enough to seriously injure someone but just the thought of spikes elicits fear. When I think of spikes, I think of pain or fighting. The “Spike Away” even reminds me of armor used for battle. This aspect of the object definitely succeeds at separating the individual wearing the vest from strangers. However, the bright green color of the vest could potentially defeat the purpose of it. The fact that it comes in bright colors makes it look like a bold fashion statement. This kind of statement could attract more attention to the user. In the picture, the people surrounding the woman wearing the vest clearly notice it and are shocked by it.
While I don’t like crowded places with strangers infringing on my personal space, I probably would never use this object. I would rather be uncomfortable or just leave the crowded place than attract unwanted attention. I could only imagine wearing the “Spike Away” if it becomes popular, though I hope that doesn’t happen. I think that this would create an extremely unfriendly and closed off society. In general, people tend to isolate themselves from strangers naturally. For example, on public transportation, if there is an empty seat next to a person or an empty seat in an empty row, people tend to take the empty seat in an empty row. The “Spike Away” would only intensify this problem.