This class focused on exploring how we can produce soft circuits and sensors, to embed them into garments and wearables, using soft circuits and soft actuators. We will start with an overview of materials, components, tools and projects. Our global tutors were Hannah Pierre Wilson and Mika Satomi who make up KOBAKANT.
In this week’s course, students will be introduced to an overview of the field of electronic textiles, example works in the field as well as materials and technical developments that have made these projects possible. We will go into details on different techniques for making soft/flexible/fabric circuits.
We will also introduce idea of micro-controllers using ATTINY as an example. We will cover simple exercise of opening blink LED example, going over the code basic and uploading to have the first step into arduino programming.
The exercise for the week will be to replicate/copy the swatch example, program your own ATTINY microcontroller with example code and design a basic circuit using the techniques of your choice.
We ask each student to create at least one analog fabric sensor and one digital sensor we mention in the course. Then create a fabric circuit using one or more of the connection technique (embroidered circuit, laser cut circuit, vinyl cut circuit) we cover in the course. They can connect the sensors simply with LED and a battery, or connect with programmed ATTINY to give a behaviour to the fabric circuit. One can use buzzer speaker instead of LED as an actuator.
The students will have to produce one soft sensor experimenting with the materials available at the lab. Trying to reproduce the same sensor with different materials/techniques (hard/hard hard/soft soft/soft).
Organise our textiles!
Strat to create sensors using techniques that we saw on Kobakant and that we searched for.
Also start to test whether they worked!
Resistance testing with the multimeter. See my spreadsheet here!
Fabric trim test
- I discovered that the vintage metallic trim was conductive, but the threads were along the going along the short width of the trim, back & forth, so that the conductivity was very low/resistance very high
- I then decided to sew a line of thread along one side of the trim, to connect all the horizontal threads along the width of the trim.
- This made the trim immediately more conductive
- I also took photos to measure the change in resistance over cm, from 5 to 10 to 15 and up to 100cm
I had the idea that i could attach and LED to the metallic trim and a battery to create a circuit.
- This worked, but to increase the resistance so that the LED light had a range on & off, I had to add in a layer of velostat to make it a pressure sensor.
- The idea that it could be a wearable pressure sensor is nice and I thought of two things simultaneously
- The weight of the battery in a pouch could combined with a stretch sensor, could turn an LED on and off, or create a range of resistance.
- The conductive wires I found and decided I would create another kind of sensor with, also could create a clasp-like system, like that of an earring
- I wanted to combine both ideas. As I was trying to create the system that I wanted but realised I was trying to combine too much.
- I would like to draw out my idea and then work on it from there
- A product idea is an earring that when you put it on, the clasp closes the circuit loop and creates a connection for an LED light in the earring to light up.
- At the same time there is a stretch sensor that changes the resistance of the circuit as gravity pulls down on this.
- The gravity could be the power source (a round battery) which sits in something created out of an e-textile like the trim or a crochet or knitted pouch.
- The result of trying to combine too much without drawing it is that I was shortcutting the circuit by touching both sides of the metallic trim to the battery/LED
- I will come back to the stretch sensor idea.
- I decided to make a push button and use the black neoprene as an insulator on one side of the pouch.
- I then attached the black velostat to the neoprene to create a black pouch for the battery.
- Then I placed the long leg of the LED onto the plus side of the battery, and the shorter leg on the outside of the mini black pouch.
- I then inserted the black pouch with the battery inside, into the metallic trim pouch.
- The grey yarn >> Tilt test
- The wire >>
- Crochet line
- Crochet circle
I also created some yarn from conductive fibre, see my wool test & processes here
Making a conductive sensor Pompom
Making conductive knitted swatches
I really wanted to test out some hand knitting as we dont have a machine here at the Fabricademy in Barcelona.
I decided to knit two swtaches, both ribbed, but one 2×2 & the other 1×1. I need to add my resistance tests onto the excel table nexta nd then afterwards,, I will use these to test the arduino.
Breadboards, Arduino’s & ATtiny programmers
The nest step or Assignment 2, is to test our sensors and their ranges using a Potentiometer.
This is a turning switch which is placed on breadboard (short white board) which has areas for positive and negative.
Using the Arduino program and board (the teal-turquoise blue-green board), we can see the sensor range e.g.: when we stretch teh long textile tube on the