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…