ITM Collection


Involving the Machines (ITM) was a research project that resulted in a collection of woven conductive fabrics. Besides their aesthetic pattern designs, these conductive fabrics possess various electrical properties such as continuous and separated areas of conductivity or resistance, pressure sensitive properties and tilt sensing capabilities.

For more information about the research project Involving the Machines, please visit the Making-of documentation page. For more information about how these fabrics were woven, please visit the Weaving Conductive Fabric page

Involving the Machines Collection

Industrally Woven Jacquard Fabrics

Button fabric

The circular part of this fabric is woven as double layers. It works as a small pocket with conductive material on both side. When spacer or resistive material is inserted in the pocket, it works as a button or as a pressure sensor.

Resistive Veresion

revised version
Instead of inserting resistive material in the pocket afterwords, the revised version inserts conductive yarn (80nm from plug and wear) in the weaving process. The conductive yarn stays as float thread at the non button part and gets inserted between the two layers of button pocket part as float in the middle.

You need to cut the float thread after getting out the woven fabric, but it works pretty much as ready made button fabric out of weaving machine.

Tilt Sensor Fabric

The four conductive petals surrounding the orange circle are woven with conductive thread. When the center metal bead touches one of the petals, it makes an electrical connection, indicating the tilting angle of the fabric. As you can see on the back side of the fabric, the conductive threads from which the bead is strung are bound with long floats, allowing one to pull them out and use them to attach the bead to on the front side.

Jacquard Pattern Conductive Fabric

Both conductive and resistive threads are woven with floats on the back so that one can cut the weft connection on the back. Each pattern on the front side of the fabric can act as an individual conductive, resistive and non-conductive surface, which can be used to construct input/output elements or circuit connections. The revised version uses only one kind of conductive thread at a time (so the weft system uses two weft threads at a time, one normal thread and one conductive thread), and instead of eight-shaft satin it is based on twelve-shaft satin to achieve better connection in the warp direction.

Cutting the floating conductive threads on the reverse side of the fabric to create separated areas of conductivity and resistance.

The main outcome of this fabric is the below weaving binding palette. By applying these binding according to the electrical characteristic you plan, one can create their own patterned conductive fabric.

Revised Version
The first version had a problem of producing huge amount of waste due to cutting off the float thread and not having a good contact in the warp direction threads. The revised version used only one kind of conductive thread in time (so the weft system uses 2 weft thread at a time, one normal thread and one conductive thread), and instead of 8 shaft satin, it is based on 12 shaft satin to achieve better connection on the warp direction.

Building Block Conductive Fabric

This fabric has long conductive floats on both sides, allowing user to cut desired parts to disconnect certain areas in order to quickly prototype a fabric circuit.

Graphical Conductive Thread

A gray-scale image can be converted into 7 different gradients of satin binding to achieve this kind of photo-like textile. We applied this technique on conductive fabric by using conductive thread (silver plated copper thread) in the weft.

Waffle Sensor

Waffle binding makes the textile in 3 dimensional structure. We used this binding with resistive yarn (Bekinox 50/2). The outcome fabric reacts to pressure and stretch making a very interesting tactile sensor.
See also >>

Handwoven Fabrics

X/Y Intersection Fabric
Woven on a hand-loom, this fabric has conductive threads inserted into the warp (columns in y-direction) and a three-layer weave in the weft (rows in x-direction) inserts additional conductive threads. Instead of electrically touching at these points of intersection, the warp conductors are woven as part of top or bottom layer of a three layer weave containing thicker non-conductive threads to gain height. This construction creates just enough space between conductors in warp and weft that they only electrically connect and complete a circuit when the intersections are pressed.

Tea-Towel Breadboard Fabric
Plain weave with alternating resistive and non-conductive threads to create a tea-towel material with a breadboard-style layout.

Textured Interactions
Applying different binding structures to create textured areas with conductive and resistive threads. The idea behind this fabric is that when stroking your finger over it’s surface you are able to feel what areas have the potential to be turned into interactive elements.

Plain Weave Fabric Touchpad
Simply a plain weave of non-conductive warp and resistive yarn in the weft. The resulting piece of woven fabric has continuous electrical resistance in all directions and is intended to be turned into a touchpad by connecting each corner to a circuit that then measures the point of contact either via triangulation or by taking the intersection of two linear position measurements.

Stroke Sensitive Fabric
This hand-woven fabric has manually created clusters of extra-long floats at spaced intervals. These floats can be cut, turning them into clusters of long hairs which are intended to function as a stroke sensor. Stroking your hand over the surface of the fabric causes the hairs to orient and make contact with other clusters. Detecting along what path electricity is able to flow through the fabric/circuit provides information about the orientation of the hairs, and thus the direction of stroke.