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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

    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
    Sensors

    Zipper Slider

    By using high-resistance conductive thread instead of conductive fabric, you can make a slider (potentiometer) with zippers. Unlike zipper switch, this sensor gives analog values instead of “ON/OFF”.

    Resistive thread 66 Yarn 22+3ply 110 PET (4k ohm/20cm) is stitched on one side of the zipper using sewing machine. The thread is used as a top thread on the machine. To achieve the good connection to the zipper head, I had to go over the stitch many times with sewing machine.
    The Lame Life Saver stitch is applied on the other side of the zipper. the end of the both stitches are connected to conductive fabric where you measure the resistance between.
    As you move the zipper head, the distance from measuring point and the connection point on resistive thread stitch changes just like potentiometer sliders.


    Related Work

    Joo Youn Paek posted a really nice report of her construction of an analog zipper sensor using resistors sewn in series with multiple contacts back to the zipper:
    >> http://itp.nyu.edu/physcomp/sensors/Reports/ZipperSensor
    She used this technique in the Zipper Orchestra project:
    >> http://itp.nyu.edu/~jyp243/jy/ziporch_2.htm

    12 Comments so far

    1. Taylor on February 23rd, 2011

      But analog is on and off. There is no inbetween. That is the definition of Analog.

      Were you thinking of digital? =/

    2. Dore on March 2nd, 2011

      Sorry Taylor, but Digital is on and off. 1 and 0. Analog means that you can have a lot of values in between.

      Thanks a lot for the tutorial! AWESOME IDEA! best!

    3. decora on April 5th, 2011

      god this is beautiful.

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    8. [...] through some of the suggested blogs and projects, I found someone using a zipper as a potentiometer. My idea is is to have a sweater with electroluminescent material which will react to the zipper. [...]

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