Textile Intersections Conference & Exhibition 2019


We at SOFTLAB@PSU are very excited about the Textile Intersections Conference where we will be exhibiting our project September 12-14th, at the Broadcasting Center, University of Loughborough in London. Descriptions and photos of works on display can be seen here. The project was developed during the Architecture 497 course Responsive Fiber Composites 2018. The project is titled Phototropic Origami Structure and is made with 4ply fiberglass, conductive yarn, LED’s connected to coin cell batteries and an Arduino board that demonstrate how to integrate light responsiveness into the fabric.

The project was sponsored by the American Composite Manufacturer’s Association [ACMA] who supported the project with their expertise and materials. A workshop was held at Penn State, and was joined by students from Carnegie Mellon. We were inspired by Chakrasana by Joe Choma and his students at Clemson University.

Our team of landscape architects and architects developed a responsive fiber composite foldable structure by embedding conducive and resistive yarns into a fiberglass knit fabric to initiate a responsive project. We used origami as a method to make folds in the fabric allowing the structure to collapse and be flat. We hoped to make a lightweight portable structure that could take on different shapes when clipped and positioned. This could be used as a shelter in a landscape setting or as a portable structure.

O u r p r i m a r y innovation and contribution dwells in the introduction of simple electronic components to make an e-textile that permits communication through the fabric through LED’s. We embedded conducive thread to carry current up a length of fiberglass knit that could then carry an electronic signal to a series of LEDs sewn onto the front side of our origami project. These LEDs were connected to a photocell that turned the LEDs on and off according to the level of light. In bright daylight the LEDs are off and as evening arrives the LEDs are on.

The project was a first time that students and faculty at Penn State University in the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture had the opportunity to do hands on experimentation working with fabrics and resins to make fiber composites. We are grateful to Joe Riebe at ACMA for reaching out to us about this.

The project was designed during the course and then fabricated after classes had ended. The team who assisted on the project were Zainab Hakanian, [MArch ’20] Jimi Demi-Ajayi [LArch ’18], Julian Huang [LArch ’18], Karen Kuo [LArch ’18], In Pun [BArch ’19] and Faculty Felecia Davis. Felecia Davis, Lee Washesky, School of Architecture Faculty, and Jimi Demi-Ajayi and Julian Huang installed the work for the exhibition in London. The papers for the conference are archived here. I will be posting more about this conference on Twitter @fadatmit and @TIntersections .

Sensors on the Body & Sensing from the Body



Sensors on the Body

You are invited to  Wearing the Future, a workshop that will provide the opportunity to discuss harnessing the potential of wearables  and smart materials to meet  wellness and healthcare needs.  The purpose of the workshop is to develop partnerships between researchers who work on problems in wellness and health care  that can be addressed using  sensors, devices, materials/ fabrics and other computational materials worn on the body.

The workshop sponsored by the College of Medicine will be held Monday, 25th March between 9:30am-4:00pm at the Hilton Garden Inn Hershey: 550 East Main Street, Hummelstown, PA, 17036, Tel. 1-717-566-9292 near the Hershey College of Medicine.

A shuttle leaving  The Nittany Lion Inn on the University Park campus at 6:50 am [schedule here ] is available to travel to and from the workshop in Hershey. The connection from the College of Medicine to the hotel  and back will be provided to workshop attendees riding the shuttle.

Organized by Rebecca Bascom, Felecia Davis and Anne Dimmock

Sensing from the Body

MADE SENSE 2019 :Touch Panel Discussion

Andrew Belser/Theater, Felecia Davis/Architecture & Aaron Knochel/Art Education

“The Matters of Art & Design (MADE SENSE) 2019 symposium will focus on exploring art and design practice through the senses: how is the sensorium integrated / embodied in the teaching and theorizing of art and design practice? What are pedagogical strategies that may open students to learn by sensing and produce emotional design and spaces of affect? From sustainability, neuroscience to the making of virtual environments, the senses are primary resources–how, when, why and for what purpose do we utilize multi-sensory approaches to practice? These are some of the questions that we anticipate exploring during the 2019 MADE Sense. ” Organized by Yasmine Abbas and Aaron Knochel.

MADE Sense will be on April 5, 2019 at the Penn State Art & Design Research Incubator”

Computing with and for the Senses

Just returned from the The 21st Distributed Ambient and Pervasive Interactions Sessions at the Human and Computer Interaction International Conference in Orlando. Great session on Computing with and for the Senses that I co-chaired with Yasmine Abbas. Thank you all for your exciting presentations, olefactory interactions and conversation. Happy to announce that Jyoti Kapur, one of our session presenters won Best Paper Award for the Distributed, Ambient and Pervasive Interactions for her paper “Engaging with sense of smell through textile interactions“. Congratualtions Jyoti!

This parallel session invites architects, spatial designers, artists, engineers, (neuro)scientists, human and interactive designers and others to present their research and (interactive) spatial design exploration based on various sensory understanding. Examples of work include the use of data and computational methods/experiments to develop tactile, auditory, olfactory, gustatory and visual spatial design.

Here was the line up:

  • Engaging with sense of smell through textile interactions
    Jyoti Kapur, Sweden, The Swedish School of Textiles
  • MOVEMENT AWARENESS: an analysis of the GESTURES installation game
    Andrew Hieronymi, United States, School of Visual Arts, Penn State University
  • Design Techniques of Ambient Media Advertisements and Message ComprehensionYen Hsu, Chia-Jung Lee, Pei-Ying Yang, Taiwan, Tatung University and Ming-Chi University of Technology
  • Sensing creatures: tools for augmenting our sensory awareness of space
    Athina Papadopoulou, United States, M.I.T. Design and Computation Group

Looking forward to continued discussion!

Textile Thinking for Future Ways of Living Exhibition @ArcInTex Sweden



The ArcInTex Network, spring 2017 meeting  was held at the Swedish School of Textiles in Boras 6 and 7 April in Boras Sweden.  ArcInTex is a group that connects architecture, interaction design and textiles. This spring’s meeting call was Body and Space: Cross Disciplinary Dialogues.

Before I report briefly on  these activities I want to say that I am deeply saddened at the loss and harm after the attack in Stockholm and my thoughts are with the people and families who were immediately affected by this event.

There were many great presentations to be inspired by and I will mention the ones that have websites, links, or are on exhibit that permit further exploration.  Sarah Kettley, a reader in product design at Nottingham Trent University presented the Electric Corset_ an Exploration of Historical Dress Archives for a Non-Fast Fashion Strategy for Wearables Innovation. She discussed the curious Electric Corset  and its implications for innovation strategies in wearable tech which was quite exciting.  Also   on Twitter will get you close.

Other presentations announced new opportunities for sustainable wearables including WEARsustain presented by Berit Greinke at University of Kunste in Berlin.[Missing umlaut]  WEARsustain is a new initiative in the EU to fund projects in the EU that focus on innovation in sustainability and ethics of wearables using smart textiles.

The ArcInTex conference closed with a fantastic collaborative presentation titled HAPTICA: How Haptic Experiences Feed the Gestalt Process.  The presenters were  Cheryl Koler, a professor of industrial design at Konstfack University in Stockholm,  Annika Rodell a professor in Culinary Arts and Meal Science at Orebro University and Asa Ostrom, [Sorry about the missing Swedish accents on my keyboard!]. Professor Asa Ostrom is a professor of sensory science also at Orebro University in Stockholm.  They presented a collaborative course and workshops that engaged a number of methods  including haptics, smell, taste, vision, cultural studies, mapping  and other methods to help culinary arts students design with all of their senses. Cheryl Koler also announced a workshop running this summer Back to the Land: Reconnecting Urban and Rural through Food SystemsFor more information email backtotheland@konstfack.se

During the conference attendees were treated to an exhibition by the ArcInTex PhD students in the Textile Museum, Skaraborgsvägen 3, Borås, Sweden.  The photograph above shows one of the pieces on exhibit in the Speculate, Collaborate, Define :Textile thinking for Future Ways of Living Exhibition. The concept for the exhibition was based on the question ‘How can we design for the future?’ The exhibition runs from 23 March to 15 May 2017.

At the scale of the body under the category of speculation students wanted to highlight ” the fragility of the human body, dependence on technology, limited resources, loneliness, and dystopian future of the Earth.”



In the define category proposed by the exhibition title were a series of Farming Textiles that supported the cultivation of edible plants in furnishings,  and textiles used to create an interior setting. In the photo immediately above you can see the beginnings of new growth on the ottoman. Below is a close up of a woven textile containing seeds in the loosely woven white stripe by Svenya Keune.



A colorful hub in the exhibition was Dr. Marjan Kooroshnia’s exhibition of her dissertation work On Textile Printing with Thermochromic Inks. Dr. Kooroshnia’s work is temperature and time based. The first photo shows two thermochromic dresses Kooroshnia fashioned.  They change color marking the body’s temperature map.



There is a video in the exhibit that shows how moving in the dress, even hair that may fall onto your shoulders on the dress makes a warmer spot that becomes temporally registered. In the exhibit you are invited to touch the dresses to make your own imprint.



Last, here is a photo of one of her pieces in the exhibit. A photograph does not do this work justice as her pieces change when you use a blow dryer, cooling spray or body heat on the textiles. Kooroshnia has provided dryers and cooling spray for you to play and explore the prints on exhibit.

There is a lot to interact with in this exhibition which really engages all the senses including smell, sound, touch and I suppose taste if you consider smell is also tasted.

The ArcInTex Network next meets at Aalto University in Helsinki Finland in fall 2017.  The ArcInTex link is here  ArcInTex and blog  ArcInTex Blog

Doing STEAM: Thinking with Material


Artists are very much scientists and scientists are very much artists. In my experience working with and thinking with material I have found that there is no science without art and that the reverse has also been so. Art and science ask different questions but each of these realms requires some of the other to function as a discipline.  The questions ” what does that mean?”  and “how does that work?” are questions that belong to both areas of knowledge creation. STEAM  is STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] with the A added for arts.    What do you think about STEAM OR STEM?


WPSU’s/Penn State’s Women in Science Project or WiSci launched Friday Jan. 27th [!].   These are video profiles of 5 scientists at Penn State including yours truly to support young women and girls’ education in STEM/STEAM careers.   Here is a link to the WPSU website WiSci.You can also follow  Women in Science on Twitter @WiSci Files. There are be live chats that will connect students in local schools to these scientists. Times and places will be posted on Twitter.

Tuesday 7 Feb. 10am , 2017 in  the Millennium Science Complex, 3rd Floor Commons at  I will share my work on a textile that quantifies the body at the Millennium Cafe@MRI, the Materials Research Institute at Penn State University on the University Park campus.  Here is a link Millennium Cafe Events 

Tuesday 21 Mar. 9am, and Wednesday 22 Mar.is a workshop titled Programmable and Wearable Molecular Composites Workshop organized by the Center for Research on Advanced Fiber Technologies CRAFT @Penn State.   This workshop will bring together academics, manufacturing and industrial partners on the Penn State University Park to discuss collaborative projects involving advanced fibers and textiles. If you are interested in working with others on computational textile systems and manufacturing you should come.  Here is a link with more information PAWMC Workshop

Also for those who have asked MIT SA+P Press has provided a copy of  Patterning by Heat: Responsive Tension Structures here.

More to come Later. Working without walls, working without bans online.






FELT: The Textility of Communicating Emotion Through a Fabric Wall

IMG_0476_sFELT:  The Textility of Communicating Emotion Through a Fabric Wall. Manufacturing a Knitted Wall at the Swedish School of Textiles.


If you are in town I will present a work in progress called FELT. April 11th @ 5:30 -6:00pm in the Long Lounge/7- 429, MIT School of Architecture and Planning, 77 Mass.  Ave., Cambridge, MA.   Travel for the project was generously sponsored by the Schlossman Research Award at MIT.   Please join us if you are able!

The fabric was produced with Delia Dumitrescu PhD, The Swedish School of Textiles University of Boras and Chalmers IT and Knitting Technician Christian Rodby at the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Boras in Sweden.

Map http://whereis.mit.edu/

Form Active Textile Structures


I am happy to announce that Form Active Textile Structures:  A Research Process  by Felecia Davis and Delia Dumitrescu will be released by School of Architecture and Planning Press in early November 2013.  The catalogue comes in a set of 5 and will be available from the School of Architecture and Planning for $24.99.  The catalogue contains two essays and details from the Patterning by Heat:  Responsive Tension Structures Exhibition that was shown in the Keller Gallery Fall 2012.

JPEG image[2]_smallclosing fabric_shrinking yarn_early test

In addition to details about the Keller exhibition we also included work and discussion from the Digital Translations:  3D Printed Textiles Workshop held at the Swedish School of Textiles in Boras Sweden Spring 2012.


We are psyched!  Coming Soon!  Look for it!

Made possible with a little help from our friends @ the MIT School of Architecture and Planning.  So a shout out to  Nader Tehrani;  Irene Hwang and Lizzie Yarina  for help with layout and editing as well as Sarah Hirschman for help with getting the original exhibition installed.  Thanks Guys!

Slow Technology & Maggie Orth’s Message


26 April, Cambridge, MA_Maggie Orth  artist and technologist, of International Fashion Machines and  MIT Media Lab PhD spoke at the MIT  Design and Computation Group Lecture series today.  She showed many of her double woven, color changing textiles in photograph and video  to show both texture of the textile and video to show the temporality of the textile pieces.  This video snagged from’ Youtube shows her piece titled 100 Electronic Art Years from 2010.    It is shown in time lapse.  The piece is made of cotton, rayon and conductive yarns as well as silver ink and hand printed thermochromic inks.  More information can be found on her website here http://www.maggieorth.com/art_100EAYears.html

If you have ever traced a shadow line across the floor wall or other surface as the sun traveled its path over a day you can get a sense of the speed of the color change.  The change is at first imperceptible but as you start to look the change is so minute but so fast you do not even know that it has changed.  In the case of the shadow, the edge has already moved from your pencil position as you start.  This is similar to the effect experienced in Turrell’s work Skyspace in Houston link here: http://skyspace.rice.edu/cms/the-commission/ .  The speed of Orth’s color changing woven textiles, take a person back to a slower more modulated time. Lars Hallnas and Johannes Redstrom write about this type of reflective temporality in the article ‘Slow technology:  designing for reflection’ the reference link is here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/PL00000019

Embedded in this temporality of natural things  is a question about how things return to the earth.  How should designers and artists account for a recycling of composite materials, microchips and other toxins that cannot be recycled?  What are the ways in which designers and artitsts can  invent ways that these new materials can be re-purposed, remade, recycled?

Computational Textile Events in November

Hello, if you are interested in computation and textiles, there are three events in the Boston area the early part of November that you will want to attend.

The IFAI is in town, or the Industrial Fabrics Association International from Nov. 6-9th at the Boston Convention Center.  There are many interesting programs concerning building and textiles.

On Friday 9 November, 9:30am- 12:30pm  I have organized  a seminar at the IFAI fair titled From Building to Body:  Current Research Into Interactive and Technical Textiles. A Panel of 5 speakers from MIT, OCAD U Toronto and the GSD at Harvard will present and discuss their works ranging from the architecture to affective wearables. Here is a link: http://www.ifaiexpo.com/Architect_Green_Roof.cfm

Monday,  5 November – 14 November  Exhibition titled  Patterning by Heat:  Responsive Textile Structures.  Keller Gallery, MIT School of Architecture and Planning,  Building 7-408.  Heat activated knitted textiles will be presented by myself and collaborator Delia Dumitrescu, PhD Candidate at the Swedish School for Textiles in Boras, and Chalmers IT. The gallery is open M-F 9am-6pm, and by appointment.  Here is a link:  http://architecture.mit.edu/computation/news/patterning-heat-responsive-textile-structures

Saturday 10 November there will be a hands on workshop, High Low Tech Lab, 5th Floor MIT Media Lab. 1pm-4pm titled Textile Sketches: Heat Fused Textile Demonstration.  Delia Dumitrescu and I  will show participants how the fabrics in the exhibition work and many additional samples. Participants will make their own patterns.

All are welcome to attend any of these public events.  See you there!

Electronic Weaving: Textiles and Mind

Charlieplexed Textile Map

Charlieplexed Map

How many things hold what we remember?

The theme of this year’s Sigradi 2011 held in Santa Fe Argentina 18-20 November chaired by Mauro Chiarella and Maria Elena Tosello , looked at the question of Augmented Culture and the intertwining of digital and physical space that create a new fabric of life, and perhaps a new  concept of mind that determines how  people interact today.

As a way to understand the idea of a mind, which was proposed by Marvin Minsky in his book the Society of Mind, the Sensing Touch:  Soft Architecture project presented at Sigradi, is a prototype for a conductive knit curtain that sensed nearness or absolute touch on the curtain and output the distance in various patterns of led’s on the curtain panel.  The panel also had soft solar film strips that captured energy to help power the output.  The paper is posted at Sigradi or CuminCad.   In this project,  mind, is expanded as it were to the textile itself creating a feedback loop between it and a person’s skin.

Here is a video of the Sensing Touch Curtain:

Sensing Touch Curtain Open from fadstudio on Vimeo.

A second paper Telephoning Textiles:  Networked Soft Architectures was also presented and looked at how a textile could become an indexing agent.   A textile map of all 50 states in the U.S. indicated by a led, was lit up according to the area code of the cellphone that was calling it.  An electronic weaving technique was used to expand the register pins of the microprocessor, in this case a Lilypad 328 from Sparkfun.  This made it possible to light up all 50 led’s one for each state in the U.S. using the 14 pins available on the Lilypad.  This paper is also available through the Sigradi or CuminCad website. Below is an image from the Telephoning Textiles: Networked Soft Architectures paper.

Textile Map Accessed by Android

Some of the most interesting issues that came up in the discussion during the Sensing Touch Curtain presentation were making it possible for other people to plug into or connect to the sensing touch curtain project, that it could not only be a understood as a curtain but seen as a mobile patchwork quilt that allowed connection with others, and that different events could be sparked off the interaction.  A kind of Interactive Gees Bend quilt that changes the look of technology and how it is accessed.  Here is a link a website showing the quilts. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/other/geesbend/explore/catalog/slideshow/index.htm, but it may be best to just google images for the quilts to see the remarkable panoply of designs together.

UpcomingForm Active Structures Workshop for the Industrial Knitting Course at the Swedish School of Textiles in Boras Sweden  between 6-10 March.

I will also present a lecture titled  Soft Architectures  at the Design Seminar Series on  6th  March.  More information at the link.

More on this later…