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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

    Sockpuppets

    The following sockpuppets are made as examples for the Soft Sensors for Soft Bodies workshop at the 2015 NODE Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. The plan is to hook up the sensors on these sockpuppets to the VVVV software via an arduino running Firmata. Then we can map the sensor data to puppeteer virtual puppets or make silly noises.

    Meet Armin, Benny, Samantha and Wendy:


    The following step-by-step instructions explain how each of these four sock puppets were made.


    Armin the Anxious Animal

    Armin is a augmented sockpuppet with textile sensors integrated in his mouth. A three-way contact switch can tell what facial expression Armin is making, and an analog pressure sensor can tell how hard he is squeezing his nose when his mouth is clenched tight.

    Stencils:

    Armin’s Expressions:

    Armin the anxious sockpuppet
    Anxious, talkative and happy:
    Armin the anxious sockpuppet
    Armin the anxious sockpuppet
    Armin the anxious sockpuppet

    Inside Armin’s Mouth:

    Armin the anxious sockpuppet
    Armin the anxious sockpuppet

    Armin’s Circuit:

    Armin the anxious sockpuppet
    Armin the anxious sockpuppet


    Benny the Baboon

    Benny is equipped with 2 kinds of sensors. bend sensor inside the mouth to detect the talking/mouth movement and stretch sensor on the neck to get the head banging movement.

    Step by Step Making

    Trace the bottom of the sock shape onto paper. This will become the inside of the mouth for the puppet. Cut out the felt into the shape you traced on the paper.


    Sew the felt and the sock together.


    Stuff some cotton to make the nose shape. If you do not want big nose, you can skip this part


    Apply thin strip of conductive fabric on the center of the mouth part. I have used fusible (iron-on glue) to stick it with iron.



    Cut out Eeonyx non-woven resistive fabric and Felt to desired size for bend sensor. Make sure to cut the Eeonyx a bit smaller than the outer felt layer (orange). Apply thin strips of conductive fabric on the outer layer felt (orange). Layer the materials as Base (green felt) > conductive fabric strip > Eeonyx > conductive fabric strip > outer layer (orange felt). Then sew them together with normal thread.


    Cut out small strip of Eeonyx stretch fabric and fix 2 points on the back of Benny’s neck. This will work as stretch sensor and detect the head movement. Stitch the each end of the Eeonyx fabric with conductive thread to extend the connection to the edge of the sock.



    Add small pieces of conductive fabric at the edge of the sock to make tabs for connecting with crocodile clips. Make the connection between sensors and tabs with conductive thread. Use zigzag stitch so the thread will not snap when the sock is stretched.


    Samantha the Silly Snake

    Samantha is a snake and she is silly. A fabric bend sensor in her mouth captures her slow and slurry speech and when she is connected to the right computer program this allows her to make silly noises, tell funny stories and control funky animations.

    Stencils:

    Samantha’s Bend Sensor:

    Samantha the silly snake
    Samantha the silly snake
    Samantha the silly snake
    Samantha the silly snake

    Samantha’s Circuit:

    Samantha the silly snake
    Samantha the silly snake

    The Resistance of Samantha’s Mouth:

    Samantha the silly snake
    Samantha the silly snake
    Samantha the silly snake


    Wendy the Wise Widget



    For this puppet, I wanted two long moving eyes, like snails. First, I tried the sock on my arm, and as it was a bit too long, I’ve cut off the tip of the sock.


    Now, mark where the fingers are going to be, and sew the finger shape with sewing machine. Try it out until it gives a good fit. Then cut off the parts between the fingers.



    Make stretch sensor by knitting the conductive yarn into thin tube with knitting mill. Thread the yarn through the mill, start off the first round of knitting with one needle on (hook), one needle off (skip to hook). After you go through the first round (1 turn of the mill, 4 needles) then start turning the mill’s arm continuously.


    When you knit enough length of the tube, cut off the yarn and continue turning the arm. The tube will drop off from the needles. Close off the edge loops using crochet hook. Cut off the tube into the length of the sensor you need, and close off the edge with crochet hooks.




    Make eyes with pompoms. Connect two of them together with thread and tie the end. Then attache the finished eye on top of the finger parts.



    Attache the stretch sensor onto the finger part. Make sure that it gets stretched when you bend the fingers.


    Make squeeze sensor. Cut off small piece of stretch sensor, stuff it with some cotton and close the edge. Attache some conductive thread on each end to make the connection to the rest of the circuit. Place it inside the socks where it is going to be the mouth with extra cotton.



    Add small pieces of conductive fabric at the edge of the sock to make tabs for connecting with crocodile clips. Make the connection between sensors and tabs with conductive thread.


    Connecting Sockpuppets with the Arduinos

    Voltage Divider

    PD sample patch is here
    https://github.com/mikst/sockpuppet


    Materials and Tools

    Materials

    – socks
    – stretch conductive fabric
    – conductive thread
    – resistive yarn
    – steel wool
    – felt (thick and thin)
    – coloured thread
    – other fabric
    – stuffing wool
    – pompoms
    – decorations
    fusible interfacing
    pull-up resistors
    – ….

    Tools

    – laptop dongle for projector
    – multimeters
    – scissors
    – sewing needles
    – pin cushions
    – iron(s)
    – pins
    – crocodile clips
    – jumper wires
    – breadboards
    – arduino(s)
    – paper and pens
    – ….


    More photos on Flickr

    Armin and Samantha:

    Benny and Wendy

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