Progress update on Capstone

After the summer working in the Unstable design lab, I  went into capstone 2 excited to start building my project. I have begun the process of that. First I had to nail down exact details of the dimensions and plan for the semsters. After the first week of class, I created a list of things to do each week and a materials list.




I feel like  I did a good job of following this weekly schdule for the first few weeks, it was helpful to have a detailed timeline.

I  figured out the dimension of the frame and the pieces and figure out how much I need for supplies and such.




The next step was to collect all of my supplies. I went to McGuckin’s to get hardware cloth and goodwill for a picture frame. I raided Joann’s remnants and the scrap fabric I had at home for fun fabrics. I ordered electronics on Amazon like motors, wires,  magnets, and conductive tape. 


From there I began to assemble the frame. I cut the hardware cloth into lots of pieces with metal shears and gloves. I think the frame one of the challenges of constructing, I had to measure and make sure all the pieces I cut out were going to be the right size and fit into the frame without touching. I actually ended up cutting the pieces too big and had to cut them down later.




After I had all the pieces cut, I started to put them in the frame. First I had to break the plastic out of the frames, then because of how the circuit is designed, I had to have separate sections so the power and ground and pins do not touch.  I used ribbon to tie all the pieces together then glued it into the frame. each small pieces will be connected to an Arduino pin and the big pieces will be connected to ground. It took forever to tie all of the pieces together.




After the frame was assembled I worked on making some quilt pieces. This was a challenge too because I had to to make sure the circuit would conduct, I made a few pieces that did not conduct. However, I had a huge success with conductive fabric tape, it became the part that conducts through to the frame and secures the wires from the motor. The fun fabric is quilted and the back, which is grey is where the electronics go. First I solder wire to the vibration motors, then I place conductive fabric tape on the back, this is the piece that conducts through to the frame. Then I quilt and sew the squares together, leaving a hole to turn it right side out.  After it is sewn, I tape the vibration motor on with conductive tape and glue four magnets on. Once dry I can turn it inside out and close up the hole. So far I have made eight working pieces. They are roughly 6 in by 6 in, but they lose some mass when I sew them. I think I may make them a little bigger, maybe 1/2 in.




After I had the pieces sewn, I tested the frame with some code. Right now I have eight pins that are all sending different power pulses. I would like to work more on the code later, but it gets the point across for user testing purposes.

I used this version for feedback from my mentor, Laura Devendorf, and user testing in class. From these sessions, the biggest things I learned was that users don’t know where to put the pieces. Other things that came up were some sort of visual feedback, to see the motion, and hiding all the electronics. These are things I am going to pursue in the next two weeks through switching to a canvas frame to hide the metal and show where squares goe, and looking into bells or something that vibrates as visual motor feedback.


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.

I first started by learning how to weave. I had done some weaving on cardboard prior to this but I learned the weaving terminology and the anatomy of a loom. I learned how to use and set up a rigid heddle loom and about how to make and read weaving patterns. 


I also played 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 the conductive thread.


For each piece, it was a challenge to incorporate the conductive thread and have a great range of change to gather data and be able to use it. For example, I tried putting it in the floating pieces of the weave but that did not change the resistance enough. The best way was to have conductive thread under the floats and in the floats. This produced a resistance change from 82 to 57 ohms. Another thing I created was a button. I made some floating parts on the pin loom and then I put the conductive thread in opposite sides. I then weaved the different thread with conductive thread into the button. I also placed some yarn fluff in between but the button was not working well as the separation between the sides was not good enough.

The research for my project flowed off of this. I started by reflecting on the survey of fabrics people like to touch that I conducted 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 in the project. I first had the idea to choose eight to ten people that are near and dear to me, speak with them and have them choose a fabric that represents them. Using a patch of that fabric I would 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.


Although I liked this direction I also explored making a modular piece, because of that I am thinking of calling it a quilt as it will be made of lots of patches. I love the idea of the viewers building the art. I could engage the community and they would have a chance to interact with my art. Building off that I want the pieces to be relevant. This quilt will be installed in a community and I want it to represent that community because they will be the ones creating it. To do this each piece will be correlated by colors to values. People then can place and replace the pieces according to their values.  The finished product of people having added pieces will produce the look and feel of the community, a community quilt.  Each small quilt piece would house electronics and they would move when placed in the frame. I like incorporating movement, it gives a feeling of life to the piece and encourages interaction.  I think that the act of making something is a valuable experience that people should engage in. This will give them a chance to do that and to experience making things. It will also give me a picture of what the community values.

Playing around with this idea, I made multiple vibrating swatches and wove some metal mesh. I think that purchasing some sort of chicken wire would be much better for the final version. However, it worked well for prototyping purposes. 


The metal wire is the backing and the small square magnets to the wire mesh. The magnets close the circuit and the vibration motor starts. This design worked really well for just starting the motor and I made another one to try different types of yarn. I made another one practice incorporating the technology and testing different yarn types

After these two prototypes, I thought about how I could get the motors to vibrate differently without having to have a microcontroller in every piece. The solution was to create in a frame a network of wire mesh separated by nonconductive material. This is the backbone of the tapestry and what the pieces will magnet onto. Because the pieces are separate I can connect each one to a pin. Then when the piece magnets onto the frame the circuit is closed with one magnet going to power and the other going to ground. This way the power and instructions are coming from the frame, not the piece, reducing the number of electronics in the modular piece.



Detaching the pieces from a power source presents a challenge because the piece has to have one side on power and one side on the ground to work. Therefore people would not be able to just place them anywhere and they would also have to know where the ground was. To fix this I am using design, creating a grey striped background the grey being where the ground is and then the pieces will all have on the small grey side, hopefully wordlessly indicating that the grey goes on the grey. 


I also played around with the materials in the pieces. The blue one has a piece of vibrating foam and the black one has googly eyes that rattle when the motor goes. I also played around with the code going to the mesh backing. 

I want the motors to vibrate at different frequencies. I played around with the delays to see if I can make them react to each other using booleans, however, this did not work out. I switched tactics and decided to try using capacitive sensing to tell when the piece was placed on the mesh. This worked and I was able to get the two pieces to interact, when the purple piece is on the black will vibrate. This works how I want it to, but the capacitive sensing can be a bit finicky, but I like the uncertainty of the interaction and that you may get different reactions at different times. 


Here is the video of that code in action. The first patch I put on does not start vibrating until the second patch is placed. Then through capacitive sensing, it knows that the purple patch is on and both start vibrating.

Here is the code that I used to get the pieces to interact with each other.

After this, I worked on documenting and gather my thoughts and research that I did over the summer. I made a new slideshow presentation and thought about how I would describe and explain my project. I also organized all the swatches that I made into a book that is easy to look at and store easily. 


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.