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Seriously? Dress becomes transparent when wearer is aroused

The Intimacy dress is made of a material called "e-foil" that becomes more transparent in response to sensors that measure things such as heartbeat and touch.Studio Roosegaarde
The Intimacy dress is made of a material calledStudio Roosegaarde

For those who need a visual cue on their partner’s readiness to get it on, there’s a new high-tech garment in the offing that turns increasingly transparent as the wearer’s state of arousal heightens.

“We call it techno poetry when this relationship between technology and the human body get immersed,” Daan Roosegaarde, who heads up the Netherlands-based design firm that created the garments, told NBC News.

The high-tech fashion project, called Intimacy, debuted in 2010, but Studio Roosegaarde recently began touring the world with a 2.0 design that incorporates leather. (A third wave of designs will likely include some menswear as well.)

The dresses are made of a material called “e-foil.” When it is slightly powered, it changes from white or black to transparent. This material is hooked up to sensors that measure things such as heartbeat, touch and motion, and is programmed to respond accordingly.

So, for example, as a wearer’s heart thumps faster at the sight or feel of their sweetie, the garment becomes ever more visually revealing. (You can see a video of the transformation, but be warned, it does contain some fashion-related nudity.)

“Intimacy became very famous because it is something very personal,” Roosegaarde said. “It is this idea of using tech to hide and show to create a new type of emotion, a new type of interaction. So it is not so much about technology, it is about a new way of interacting. I think that is fascinating.”

He said the first dresses are essentially high-end art projects intended as museum pieces or a something a Hollywood celebrity might wear on the red carpet.

“It is similar to the haute couture fashion that you see in Paris and New York,” he said. “It is beautiful. You wear it for special events and you make a statement.”

The material isn’t restricted to clothing. For example, it could be used in a showroom to hide a new car. As people interact with it, it becomes more transparent and reveals what lies beneath.

In the next year or two, Roosegaarde hopes to strike a deal with a major brand and tap the broader consumer market with clothes for both women and men. “I’m really curious about how people will interact in a different way in clubs,” he said.

“I even want to make a version now for men’s suits which become transparent when you lie — especially for the bank world,” Roosegaarde quipped. “I think that would be appropriate.”

John Roach is a contributing writer for NBC News. To learn more about him, check out his website. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.