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e-textiles and soft circuit

February 17, 2009

I we shift our conception of electronics, that it’s to say if we consider electronics no more as a neutral and rational element, but as something more uncertain like its ability to “sense” different phenomenons and respond to these stimulis, then we can create dynamic and sensitive systems able to be integrated in clothes, that to make them interactive interfaces between us and the environment.
Some new textiles and threads able to conduct electricity, and microcontrollers (as the Arduino) allow us saving so much time in creating wearables.

The Lilypad ( a kind of Arduino), has been especially created to be embedded in clothes. It’s very thin and varnished so that we can easily wash the clothes.

arduino

This kind of platform contains a microcontroller with a Processing/Wiring environment. I’ts quite easy to use and programm (depending on few hours of tutorials).

image-9image-13A version entirely made of textile exists, but unfortunately not yet commercially available.

There are several tutorials on line for diy amateurs and interactive designers.

www.fashioningtechnology.ning.com is a very  useful and intersting blog made by designer Syuzi Pakhchyan. There you can find some tutorials and templates that can help you to create interactive objects or clothes with soft circuits.

 Leah Buechley’ web page ( she’s the co-creator of the lilypad) will help you starting programming with the Lilypad. (see also layada)

A “real” soft circuit doesn’t exist without some conductive threads (instead of wires). you can find some on sparkfun and Bekaert.

To see soft cicuit project go to the LilyPad Arduino group in Flickr

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