The rise of technology is moving at a historic rate and from artificial intelligence, to self-driving cars and everyday assistance, is it possible that we’re becoming less-connected and counterproductive in our move to the future? Studies show that social media is clearly linked with mental health issues, but its innovators like designer Zsófi Lévai who are dedicated to bring us back together.

Gaining the spotlight at this years Berlin Fashion WeekTelekom‘s ‘Fashion Fusion’ program – an initiative fostering creativity by bridging the gaps between fashion and tech – invited applicants from around the world to submit proposals for consideration by a panel of world leaders in fashion and tech. From there, selected entrants were invited to create prototypes, where the top three designs were selected for cash prizes.

This year, second-place winner Zsófi Lévai gained wide attention for her concept on “wearable Tinder”. The Hungarian knitwear designer created the “Power of Proximity” collection, utilising a data visualisation process fed into integrated LED lights, helping users to hone in on likeminded individuals and discover when a deeper connection has been reached. Light-up strips on the garments function like a level indicator; glowing white when an initial connection is identified, red or blue depending on how much wearers have in common and  displaying the word ‘bond’ if an emotional attachment develops.

“I believe that we can use technology in our clothes to enhance human communication in a physical space, in real time, face to face,” she says. “I build a network between garments, giving the garments meta-communication so we can focus more on being present. I want to help people get away from their screens, while giving them the same experience they know from being online,” she told Sleek Magazine.

Raised into a family of “women super-nerds”, Lévai who had a love for fashion was always inspired to foster unity and create new social networks. Enlisting the help of her mother as her main software developer, the mother-daughter duo formulated a way to integrate technology for real life situations.

“My generation are constantly in motion: we move apartments a lot, we even live in different countries for a few months or a few years…Because of this lifestyle we have to integrate into new communities from time to time…I believe this tendency will get even stronger in the future, so I imagine that my concept will help people integrate faster and more efficiently into new communities.”

“I want to do more research on how we communicate as a society and on the things that help us connect to each other.”