Summer Progress on Capstone

Over the summer I worked in the Unstable design lab on my capstone project. I explored the implementation, impact, and technique of making an interactive textile.

On brainstorming what I want the interaction to be for my project I reflected on the survey of fabrics people like to touch over the semester. I enjoyed this survey a lot and love talking to and including friends in my project. This got me thinking about how I could include people I love in the project. From there I came upon a new Idea for the interaction and meaning of the tapestry.

Many people have had a great influence on my life, yet I often forget. With this tapestry, I want to honor these people who have helped me become who I am today. I will choose eight to ten people that are near and dear to me, I will speak with them and have them choose a fabric that represents them. Using a patch of that fabric I will create a geometric tapestry of different fabrics. A sign displayed next to the tapestry will explain the meaning and encourage people to touch it. When they touch a section it will interact with movement mapped to the influence they have had in my life. This idea is still in process but I want to involve others and I like how personal this is to me.

Another idea of a direction I had this summer was making a modular tapestry. This is so that I could engage the community and they would have a chance to interact with my art. I love the idea of the viewers building the tapestry, the community determines the look of the piece. Each small tapestry piece would house electronics and they would active when placed in the frame. I think that the act of making something is a valuble experince that people should engage in. This will give them a chance to do that and to experince making things.

Playing around with this idea more I made a vibrating swatch that had a coin cell battary and a small buzzer. I also created a woven mesh out of soft wire and this is a mock up of what would be in the backround of the frame for the pieces. This wire mesh served to close the circuit of the vibration sensor creating a surface that turns on the vibrator.

Some other things I have worked on is playing around with the conductive thread and figuring out how to put it into a textile. I have woven it into a few things creating some pressure sensors and a button. I did this by weaving conductive threads into places where they will be shorted creating a different resistance that is measurable along conductive thread.

For the first one was an journey to find a good way to incoperate the conuctive thread. I tried putting it in the floating pieces of the weave but that did not change the resitance enough. The best was to have conductive thread under the floats and in the floats. This produced a resitance change from 82 to 57 ohms.

The other thing I created was a button I made some floating parts on the pin loom and then I put conductive thread in that side. I than weaved the differnt thread with conductive thread into the button. I also placed some yarn fluff inbetween but the button was not working well.


Capstone Prototype Phase Three

For my final phase of prototyping I explore a few diffrent options. First I tried integrating some sensors into a textile. I crocheted a small square. I did two rows normal then one with conductive thread mixed in then two normal rows again, I did this twice. I then created a circuit and tested it with a light as a capacative sensor. The sensor kind of worked but it was getting weird numbers didn’t alwayws work. I also didn’t get the second sensor to work.

Next, I went and talked to Laura Devendorf and that was really healpful. I also think I will have the oppertunity to work in her lab over the summer on my capstone! I think that the medium of weaving could have some cool applications in my project. It provides a way to incoperate electronics seamlessly and discretely into the project. She inspired me and I did some more ideation on what I want the interaction to look like for the tapestry. She talked about having people close the circuit when they touch the tapestry instead of having a capacative sensor.

My final Prototype I worked on was playing with a motor for a movement reaction. I made a fabric with a soft button that just closed thee circuit on the DC motor I found in the BTU. I wanted and interaction where when the circuit is closed the motor vibrated the piece of fabric. This was really hard to figure out how to create and I didn’t do it sucsefully. The DC motor is really bulky and it need space to opperate. When I put the fabric over it it the motor had no space to move. There may be a better type of motor to use or I just need to think about the design more. I added a rubber band to the end of the DC motor because I wanted it to really flop around and move alot. This was good until I tried to put it into an enclosure, where it needed lots of room to work. Here is my motor and the soft switch. I put it over a tin and that worked sometimes, but I never got a good video. There was also a problem with my circuit beacuse the button was getting very hot when is was used. I think there must have been a short somewhere. However, I’d like to play around with this more trying to figure out a natural interaction for this feature.

Here is the video of the motor and switch


Protyping Phase Two

In this second phase I focused a lot on the technial aspect of my project.

I first brainstormed some interactions for my tapestry. What I came up with was interactions designed to how somone would interact with the fabric. For exaple, I would stroke silk so when silk is stroked diffrent lights come on. When a thick fabric is pressed there would be vibration. When a fabric like couduroy is touched there would be music, maybe diffrent tones as you go. Finally some soft fabric like fleece would have a heat related interaction.

Exploring the realtiy of some of these, I first played around with using thread as a capacitive sensor. I sewed with a runing stich into the fabric and left some off the end to connect to. This worked really well with one sensor however, when I tried to add more sensors I was very unsucessful and frustreated. When I added another capacitive sensor neither of the sensors worked. My research on the internet was fruitless as all the code for multiple sensors looked the same as mine. I also tried switching up the resistors but the capacitive sensing would not even work then. I later went ot the BTU lab and tooks some more resistors. I found that 1 megaohm resistor worked! This allowed me to have two sensors working at once!

Here is my code for this prototype

My last prototype was going to be playing with a vibration motor but I did not get my hands on one. I thoght it was a vibration motor but it was a piezo sesor. This is an area I want to explore in furthur prototyping! Another thing I want to explore is weaving conductive thread with normal thread to create a conductive textile! I have also still not talked to Laura Devendorf but I think that would be beneficial to do before the semster ends.


Protyping Phase 1

For this first phase of protoyping I explored a few diffrent things in each realm. This week I was focused on the beginning steps, exploring what types of fabrics and designs I want to use. How I want the interaction to look and playing with the technology I want to used on a small scale.

First I created a role protype with a pice of paper with twelve diffrent swatches of fabric. The purpose of this was to firgure out what people wanted to touch and how they physically interacted with fabrics. Each person I showed this card to I asked which one they touched first an the top five they liked to touch the best. With this prototype and these questions I hoped to gather some information about what fabrics lend themselves to being touched and are enjoyable to touch.

My resuts were sucsessful in the second question but not the first. The first question was not very informative because people would touch either the first on the page or it was just random. Thus, I did not learn much from this first question. The second question, the top five swatches they liked to touch, was much more sucessful! I asked eighteen people and some trends emerged. The most popular swatch at thirteen times in top five was a tie between number 12 and number 6. I think that people like the fuzzyness of 12 and the smoothness of 6. The most frequent first choice was number 10 and it also was in top five twelve times. Number 2 also was in the top five twelve times with number 11 close behind at 11 times. There were some other swatches chosen as well but these were the most noticable trends. Some similarities I notice between these top swatches are the textures of them. 10 and 12 are fuzzy which is nice to touch. The absolute smoothness and softness of 6 is so satisfying. 2 and 11 were intresting woven fabrics that I think were intresting to explore with fingers. Here are my writen results:

It was intresting doing this protype and seeing how people interacted. Everyone was excited to touch all the swatches and happy to help. I think that people love tactile things and this protoype showed that. It also confirmed that textures are really importat when we feel things and they determine if we like something we feel. It also sparked a lot of conversation about my project and lots of people found it intresting which was encouraging. It was good practive for me to explain it as well!

Another role protype I did was a interaction diagram of what an experince would look like. This was just a little diagarm to help me think about how I want someone to interact with my project. It also helps me to understand the setting and implcations of the project better.

A look protype I did was some skecthing to explore possible desings and sizes. I like the abstract triangel ones best. This was a good exercise to see possible options but I have not landed on one design or size yet. I am starting to think that a smaller size will be easier to acomplish. Perhaps the electronics will also factor into the design.

Another look and feel protype I did was creating this mini tapesry on a small piece of paper. I made this just to get a sense of what the product would look and feel like on a smal scale. It also helps me to understand how people interact with it and what sort of textures are intresting to combine. From my first prototype I daw how importatint textures are going to be in this project. This prototype combines a few diffrent ones to see how they look and feel together.

The final protoype I did was a technical prototype, I tested a capacitive senor and pressure sensor under fabric. This protoype served the purpose of exploring how I will actually create the interaction of the tapestry. I am hoping to learn through this how I can put the sensor under the fabric and still read in the user imput.

I was not able to get the capacative sensor to work under the fabric. My finger had to be touching the foil. I think this was because the value of the resitor was too high. However the capacitive sensor did not work when I tried diffrent resitor values. Despite this I think that there is still a way to get a capacative sensor to sense proximity and then I could use that under fabric. Here is my circuit schmatic and the actual circuit for the capacitive sensor.

I also tested out a pressure sensor. This was a sucsess beacause I could place it under the fabric and still capture the touch. It also mapped the values and the light was brighter based on how hard you pressed making a more intresting interaction. I placed the LED between the two layers of fabric and the pressure sensor under both layers. when the sensor is pressed the LED reacts. Here is my circuit and a video of it in use.

Here is a video of the interaction.

From both of these prototpes I learned that the pressure sensor may be a better way to get user imput. I also learned that it will be smart to buy my own sensors when I actually make the project insead of creating my own that dont always work.

Some prototyping steps I and thinking of in the future are brainstorming and planning interactions for when the tapersty is touched. Playing with a piezo vibrator, and a tilt sesor of an outout and an input. Exploring more about capacitive sesors and trying to add one to a whole small region. I also think just conversing with people about my project more will be good as well!



This reading made me think about how I don’t have to prototype the whole thing, but only parts of that to commuicate the look and feel, role or the implementation. For my prototypes for capstone with a tactile project I will need to do lots of look and feel prototypes. Figuring out what fabrics and textues and interactions to use. Maybe as well as role, learning what it will be used for and how it will be interacted with. I think for a musical project the implemenaion of the stystem would be a better more useful prototype. Figuring out how the pieces would work together . I also think the look and feel is importaint to how the usesr will interact.


50+50 Ideas

After my 100 ideas, I landed on a few I really liked!

First is the performance cello, to help visually show the sound. This is a cello with motion and position reactive bow and sound reactive lights! The lights on the bow would turn on and off with the position of the bow. I am thinking about LEDs on the side of the cello that are reactive to tone and loudness, however, I think it may be hard to incorporate lights on the instrument. I am thinking that a pair of shoes with lights would be better, then the user could also interact with the shoes.

My next idea is an interactive painting. This would be a 3D textile painted. This would be to help blind people experience art and to just experience it on a whole new level. The painting would use textiles, motors, and heaters to help feel. Some elements would move, but my favorite interaction would be that the cool colors feel cold and the warm colors are warm.

My next Idea is a money counting piggy bank, the bank would be fitted with a sensor that would read the size or color (not sure if this technology even exists) of the coin that information would be maped to the value and added to the total value, and LED display would give you the total of the money in te piggy bank.

The hands free page turner is a decive that gets cliped to the side of a stand and has a mechanoncal arm opperated by a button in the players shoe. When the button is [ressed the arm turns the page and then flips back to the previous page.

The final Idea is a interacitve kids book. This would be a tactile book with diffrent fabrics and textrues, using LEDs, motors and buttons to interact with the reader and the stories. It would be recharable and provide hours of interactive enterntainment. I would either pick a classic childrens story to animate or write my own.



I thought it was interesting to learn about the way the why scientifically affects the brain and where that gut feeling comes from. I feel like this will help me understand what I am looking for in a job or project and why I don’t resonate with some ideas. I also understand better why it’s hard to express feelings.

After listening and reading to this theory, I feel like my why for my capstone project is moving towards helping people, I have always been passionate about helping in whatever way I can. I feel like my domains speak to that in helping disabled people or helping to enhance the audio experience. Or just to aid in little every day things with wearable technology. I want to help people to explore the beauty of music not just through audio but also through visual. Think that my why could still use further development, but I think the heart of it is to help, whether that’s with help through assistive tools, help to express yourself or help to experience music in a new way.