The video above demonstrates a nice prototype developed by InnTex of a pressure sensitive fabric that contains electroluminescent fibers. Everything is controlled by an Arduino. By pressing it, you can turn the light on or off.
Next week, I will exhibit prototypes developed as part og my MSc in Design & Innovation at TechTextil. These have been made in collaboration with the design company Diffus (www.diffus.dk), textile designer Priya Mani (www.priyamanidesign.com) and medialogy student Marija Andonovska. The prototypes will be part of the smart textiles community, booth 3.1 B 10. Hope to see some of you there!
Kim Hall, a textile artist, is holding an interactive textile workshop this Saturday May 30 at the 3rd Ward in Brooklyn. Kim will show you how to make a “smart” hat embroidered with heat sensitive inks that can convey a cheeky message with the flip of a switch. In the off state, the embroidery will simply blend in with the fibers of the hat. When switched on, the thread will turn white (transparent) and the message will be visible. The interactive textile workshop will run you $100 for non-members and $80 for members.
These new light-weight batteries from Sparkfun are perfect for any LED jewelry project. Less than a square inch in size, each cell outputs 3.7V at 20mAh. The great part — they are rechargeable (yay!). The downside — they require a specialized Lithium Polymer charger. You can, of course, wire up a bunch together to get more amperage for other wearable projects that require more current. Available via Sparkfun for $5.95
“The Heat is On”, developed by Elisa Strozyk, cleverly uses thermochromatic inks to transform ordinary radiators into stylish decor. A lovely pattern appears on both the wall and the radiator itself when the radiator is turned on— and disappears when the radiator is not in use. The use of thermochromatic inks is both decorative and functional: it dually acts as a means to enhance the environment as well as serve as a reminder to turn the radiator off when you leave your home.
Different patterns for color-changing wallpaper
The pattern design itself was inspired by warm, comforting knits such as socks, scarves and the like. To add a tactile and 3 dimensional element, Elisa stitched dyed thermochromatic threads onto the wallpaper itself. Metallised plastic film was also used to uniformly transfer the heat from the radiator itself up the the wall.
Pattern and stitching detail
Check out Elisa’s other textile explorations— her work overall is quite impressive.
Dr. Frances Geesin, a researcher and textile artist, is a winner of the NanoArt 2008 competition for her magnificent work with electroplated textiles inspired from microspcopic images of the invisible elements in our world. Working from nano images, Geesin is inspired by the complex and layered world revealed through the electron microscope. She translates these hidden structures and patterns into beautiful 3D forms. “Six Hollows” (pictured above) was inspired by nano-capsules designed for drug release. The pieces are created from thermoplastic and electroplated in nickel.
“Silver Rolls” are inspired from the fibrous structure that constitutes bone tissue. Geesin created the piece by first flattening fabric in a heat press. She then created a lattice, mimicking fibrils network, by drawing with a fine tipped soldering iron into the thermoplastic material. The fabric was also plated with silver on one side.
Micelles Silver is an electroplated and manipulated thermoplastic tape. It is inspired from micelle formation, an essential process for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and complicated lipids within the human body. For more of Dr. Frances Geesin’s work, please visit Nanoart21.org.
Taking the concept of “Skin as the New Interface” to the next level, “Bare,” a body paint that conducts electricity, was developed by Royal College of Art students Becky Pilditch, Matt Johnson, Isabel Lizardi and Bibi Nelson.
Non-toxic conductive ink
Bare is a non-toxic conductive ink that can be applied directly to the skin.
Conductive ink brushed onto skin
By transforming skin into a highly conductive surface, the body can be used to interact with electronic circuits through gesture, movement and touch.
Dancer interacting with circuit
Potential applications I am assuming are mainly for performance based media art. Currently, in the medical industry, a conductive gel is used on the skin of patients as a means of providing a low resistance contact between the surface of the skin and an electrode. This product may (or may not) be a good DIY alternative for those of you fascinated by this idea. Via TalktoMyShirt
POWERleap harnesses the kinetic energy from foot traffic and cleverly uses it to create a flooring system that lights up with every step. Using piezoelectric materials (a smart material that generates electricity when compressed or bent), the energy generated from the piezos are stored in the battery used to power the LED tiles. This project is so simple that I would love to see a soft textile version using simple Piezo transducers (or if you can get your hands on piezoelectric fabrics). If you hook up a piezo to an LED you can generate enough energy to light the LED (without a battery). Unfortunately, without additional circuitry, I think you may need a piezo per LED. There are also a number of flexible piezos to experiment with. If anyone has any experience with piezos and LEDs, please LMK.
The Yala Sofa is a nice use of thermochromatic inks to create upholstery fabric. The furniture aims to a create a space for people to come together. The sofa “blossoms in the company of others” when it is occupied and, when unoccupied, the imprint of the shared experience slowly fades away.