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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    From 2013-2015 Mika is a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was 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


    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition
    Example Projects

    Wearable Waste of Energy

    Sew together various soft electronic components to turn your favorite clothing item into a wearable waste of energy!

    >> Wearable Waste of Energy Instructable

    There are 7 different components to this wearable. And below is a list of the materials and tools you will need to complete them. The following 7 steps will explain how to make each of these components. And the idea is that you come up with your own design and layout for the components, and maybe even add some new elements.

    conductive fabric traces

    So that the electricity can flow from the battery through the button or the pressure sensor to the component it needs a conductive connection. Since we are working with clothing, it makes sense to use conductive fabric to make these traces. Iron on some fusible interfacing to your conductive fabric before cutting it into thin strips. Then iron these strips onto the clothing item where you need them to complete the circuit.

    9V battery, battery snaps and little pocket

    Once you have decided on the layout and design of your wearable you will have to plan in one 9V battery for almost every component you integrate. This is because the conductive fabric traces have quite a bit of resistance, thus suck quite a lot of energy, which contributes to the whole waste of energy idea.
    To connect the 9V battery snaps to the conductive traces, strip the ends of the wires that come out of the battery snaps and make a little loop. Solder this so that it does not unravel. Use conductive thread to sew the loop onto the end of the fused conductive trace.
    You will want to make a pocket for your battery. Best to use stretchy fabric and cut it a bit smaller than the actual size of the battery so that the stretch will keep it in place. Also, make the pocket 2 or 3 cm longer than the battery, this way it stays in nicely, even when upside-down.

    Fabric switch

    For this component you will want to follow the detailed instructions posted in the Three Fabric Buttons Instructable.

    Fabric pressure sensor

    For this component you will want to follow the detailed instructions posted in the Conductive Thread Pressure Sensor Instructable.

    Vibration motor embedded in Shapelock

    Strip the ends of the short wires coming out of a small vibration motor (the kind you find in cell phones) make loops in the wire and solder them just like the ends of the 9V battery snap wires.
    Shapelock or polymorph is a very cool thermoplastic. It comes in small pellets and when you pour a handful of them into hot water they will melt and stick together. They are ready to mold when transparent. Take out the cluster of hot plastic pellets and shake off the hot water. Mold into solid form and then form around the small vibration motor, leaving the two soldered loops sticking out. In this example I simply soldered to these rings in order to connect them to the conductive trace, but the idea of embedding the motor in Shapelock is to make it washable (not in hot water though!) and so that the rings can also be stitched to the conductive traces with conductive thread. Getting rid of the wire, which is a good thing, in terms of wearability. I guess.

    LED

    With a pair of small pliers curl the legs of the LED into little loops and sew these loops, using conductive thread, straight to the conductive fabric traces. Make sure that the LED’s plus goes to the battery’s plus!

    Decorative elements: the doll and the sun

    For the sun I simply cut a small circle of foam and then cut out a circle the size of the LED in the middle of that and then placed it over the LED, to create some 3D-ness. Then I ironed-on some fusible interfacing to some white cotton jersey and cut out a piece in the shape of a sun. I also cut a hole in this the size of the LED and placed it on top of the led and the foam. Then I ironed on the sun to the sweater, being careful of the LED and the foam underneath.



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