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  • 3D Printed Sensors
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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
    Sensors

    Circular Knit Stretch Sensors

    Use of a circular knitting machine to knit a circular stretch sensor from combinations of conductive and non-conductive yarns.

    In the cases of the Inox steel fiber blend yarns, the stretch sensing is due to the structure of the conductive yarn which is made up of lots of short steel fibers mixed with polyester. Even without knitting the yarn into a structure you can use it as a stretch sensor by simply pulling it taught or relaxing it. But the yarn is not very strong and easy to tear. The knit structure allows you to accumulate more yarn and thus more resistance in less length and also by combining the conductive yarn with regular yarn you can gauge the sensitivity of the sensor by choosing a thicker or thinner yarn – thicker yarn gets more in the way of the conductive yarn making extra contact through the knitted loop structure. Plus knitting creates the stretchy structure giving you some natural tangible feedback.

    Videos

    Reading input from various knit stretch sensors with an arduino (using internal pull-up resistors) and a graph application written in Processing.

    >> Download higher quality video (262MB)

    #1) New conductive yarn obtained from Plug and Wear (more info soon)
    #2) Nm 10/3 20% Inox, 80% PET knit with regular white yarn from Schoeller-Wool
    #3) Nm 50/2 20% Inox, 80% PET knit with regular white yarn from Schoeller-Wool
    #4) Nm 50/2 40% Inox, 60% PET knit with regular white yarn from Schoeller-Wool
    #5) Nm 25/1 100% Inox steel fiber knit with regular white yarn from Schoeller-Wool
    #6) Nm 20/2 30% Inox, 70% Laine wool pure from Wera-Tech
    #7) Nm 20/2 30% Inox, 70% Laine wool knit with regular white yarn from Wera-Tech
    #8) 117/17 2ply silver plated Nylon conductive thread from Sparkfun and LessEMF
    #9) 66/22 3ply 110 PET silver plated Nylon conductive thread from LessEMF

    Stretch sensing properties of the individual conductive yarns used in the above shown video in the knit structures.

    >> Download higher quality video (421MB)

    Conductive yarn

    Conductive yarn with this stretch sensing property can be hard to come by www.plugandwear.com currently sells a Nm 10/3 conductive yarn with these properties.

    Circular knitting machines

    Circular knitting machines range from 20-250$ in price and differ in diameter, number of needles and spacing of needles. Spool or wire knitters have only four needles and resemble manual knitting dolls, while the knitting machines resemble manual knitting wheels or looms.

    Make your own

    The following Instructable covers the making of a circular knit stretch sensor with a with the following models of circular and spool knitting machines:
    - Play Go Knit Knit (17 Euro from Amazon Germany)
    - Singer Spool Knitter (19$ from Amazon USA)

    >> Instructable

    Videos

    Timelapse!

    Video demonstration of both wide (circular knitting machine) and narrow (spool knitter) stretch sensors

    Video of the full process of knitting and testing a circular knit stretch sensor using the Play Go Knit Knit circular knitting machine (6 minutes)

    Video of the full process of knitting and testing a circular knit stretch sensor using the Singer Spool Knitter (5 minutes)

    6 Comments so far

    1. wearable-technologies at ting on September 28th, 2010
    2. [...] Hannah Perner-Wilson’s tutorial/method, I made two sensors using a Wonder Knitter from the craft store. It came with two attachments, a 3 [...]

    3. Plusea on September 9th, 2011

      [...] your own >> http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=2108 Conductive yarns >> http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=1978 Spool knitters and circular knitting [...]

    4. [...] which seemed to be the perfect opportunity to make a DIY sensor. I was inspired by this tutorial (http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=2108) to make a circular knit sensor for this project. I couldn’t find any reliable sources for [...]

    5. Plusea on May 12th, 2012
    6. The Gloves Project on May 5th, 2013

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