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Conductive Materials
  • Anti-static Foam
  • Cheap Electronic Toys
  • Conductive Fabric Substitute
  • Conductive Fabrics
  • Conductive Gel
  • Conductive Paints and Inks
  • Conductive Pen
  • Conductive Play-Doh
  • Conductive Tapes
  • Conductive Threads
  • Conductive Velcro
  • Conductive Wool
  • Conductive Yarns
  • Custom Plugs
  • Fine Steel Wool
  • Graphite Powder
  • Headers
  • Knit Stroke Sensors
  • Metal Beads
  • Metal Fasteners
  • Metal Poppers
  • Multi-Conductor Fabrics
  • Perfboard
  • Resistive and Piezoresistive Fabrics
  • Resistive Paper
  • Resistive Rubbers
  • stretch conductive fabric comparison
  • Thin Flexible Wire
  • Velostat
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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    From 2013-2014 Mika is a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    As of July 2013 Hannah is a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley


    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition

    Conductive Materials

    Multi-Conductor Fabrics


    Also see: conductive fabrics, conductive threads, thin flexible wire

    Conductive Yarns


    also see: collective purchase, conductive thread

    Conductive Wool


    Conductive wool is perfect for felting. It is very fine conductive fibers (steel) mixed with normal wool, or with polyester. The one with wool works better for felting. I have purchased this from Bekaert Bekinox W12/18 Bekinox PES 12/50

    stretch conductive fabric comparison


    I have recently ordered sparkfun conductive fabric (MedTex180), which is similar to LessEMF stretchy fabric but much thicker and stiffer. The structure of the fabric is more like a rib than Lycra. The front side is very shiny and you can see the rib structure from the back side. It stretches very well on once […]

    Conductive Play-Doh


    Conductive and non-conductive play-doh recipes by Dr. AnnMarie Thomas and Samuel Johnson.

    Conductive Fabric Substitute


    Aluminum foil used with fusible interfacing is a great inexpensive and super available substitute for conductive fabrics.

    Conductive Tapes


    A variety of conductive fabric, copper and aluminum tapes are available. Some have conductive adhesive and some not. Some make good electrical connections by simply overlapping ends, and some do not. Copper tape is great for soldering to.

    Conductive Threads


    also see: conductive yarn conductive threads are usually manufactured for anti-static, electromagnetic shielding, intelligent textiles, wearable technology, data transfer and heating purposes. Most threads are metalized with an alloy of various metals, which can include silver, copper, tin and nickel. The core is normally cotton or polyester. Conductive threads are uninsulated and sewing them tightly […]

    Knit Stroke Sensors


    Knitting with taught elastic, causing the knit structure to bunch up and create ruffels of loops that can be used for stroke sensing.

    Conductive Pen


    Conductive pens are intended for small fixes and can be used to connect conductive fabric that is not solderable to the metal pins of a components. But we have found them to be finicky and a slight pain. Instead we recommend the range of conductive paints and inks listed in this post: >> Conductive Paints […]

    Anti-static Foam


    also: Resistive foam, ESD foam, black conductive polyurethane foam, dissipative foam Comes with sensitive electronic chips and components. Available in various densities, soft or stiff. Good for pressure sensing.

    Resistive Paper


    Black conductive paper used for electrostatic field mapping. >> http://store.pasco.com/pascostore/showdetl.cfm?&DID=9&Product_ID=1821&Detail=1

    Metal Fasteners


    Many traditional fabric fasteners are metal and great for making electrical plugable connections. these include hooks and loops, hook clasp, magnetic clasps and screw and socket clasps, buttons, zippers (with conductive zipper tape from Shieldex)… These also include metal poppers, which are covered in an extra post.

    Resistive and Piezoresistive Fabrics


    resistive fabrics tend to have an increasing resistance across distance and are great for making potentiometers and location sensors. Piezoresistive fabrics are often also resistive across distance (x,y) but have a resistance that decreases under pressure (mechanical stress) through the material (z). These materials are great for making pressure, bend and often stretch sensors. There […]

    Resistive Rubbers


    Conductive rubbers can be used for pressure, bend and stretch sensors. Because of their materiality they offer a nice haptic feedback, without the need for other squishy materials.

    Headers


    (German: Stiftleiste, Buchsenleiste) These come in very handy for making plugable connections. Though hopefully with time these will be replaced with more sewable alternatives, for now they are an okay solution. It is nice to get the break-away option, as this saves time cutting them with the knife and losing the ones in between.

    Perfboard


    Perforated Circuit Board, also called Solderable Breadboard. An acrylic board with holes drilled every 4mm spacing for electronic components. this is also about the minimum distance for spacing when sewing with conductive thread. Perfboards with copper line patterns are great for making small circuits and then sewing to them (by hand) with thread that is […]

    Conductive Paints and Inks


    The biggest problem with conductive paints and inks is that they crack and loose their conductivity on fabric because the surface of fabric is porous and uneven. To print on stretch fabrics is an even bigger issue that might be resolved by combining the paints with flexible materials such as latex, silicone or fabric mediums. […]

    Fine Steel Wool


    By felting together natural and steel wool it is possible to make conductive felt and from this a pressure sensitive variable resistor. This project is a nice project by Thomas Gerhardt using this principal. >> http://thomas-gerhardt.com/itp/FeltResistor/

    Thin Flexible Wire


    While conductive thread is so good for so many e-textile purposes, sometimes insulated wire can come in handy. Finding really thin, flexible wire is not always easy, especially when shopping online, so here are some links to some of the resources we have found useful.

    Metal Beads


    Heavy metal beads are great for making tilt sensors. They can be used in combination with smaller metal beads or non-conductive glass, plastic or ceramic beads. You can also make your own conductive beads, either by shaping them from some stiff metal wire and possibly soldering them to add enough solder to make them heavy. […]

    Cheap Electronic Toys


    The circuits found inside cheap electronic toys, especially sound toys, can become very useful when you want small circuits. You can not customize them as much as planning and programming your own, but these come cheap, quick and easy to cut down to a bare minimum and embed in a garment.

    Graphite Powder


    We have so far unsuccessfully used graphite powder to make our own stretchy conductive glue or paint. But it is possible to make non-stretch glue/paint by mixing graphite powder and liquid tape together.

    Conductive Gel


    Conductivity similar to water.

    Velostat


    also: anti-static bag, ESD bag Velostat is a piezoresistive material, meaning it’s electrical resistance decreases when pressured. When sandwiched between two conductive layers, it has a wonderful range for making pressure and bend sensors. It can also be used for resistive sensing over distance, position sensing. Velostat is a back, opaque, volume-conductive, carbon-impregnated polyolefin. The […]

    Conductive Fabrics


    also see: Connections >> Solderability Tests There are a range of different conductive fabrics available. Some of the most frequently used conductive fabrics, tend to be the most available.

    Conductive Velcro


    also: Hook and Loop fastener Velcro is the brand name for fabric Hook and Loop fasteners. conductive velcro is highly conductive and good for making switches or connections that might need to be opened and closed.

    Metal Poppers


    also know as: snap, snap fastener, press stud also see: Tools >> popper machines Metal poppers are great for making electrical connections. They are traditionally a wearable fastener. They are a washable and reliable connection method. We have found that not all metal poppers are good for solder to. White bronze, brass, PWP nickle free, […]