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  • A Kit-of-No-Parts at Weissensee
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  • - faser - faden - fiktion -
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  • Game controller hack
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  • least likely
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  • School of Wicked Fabrics: FOUNDATION /02
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  • E-Textile Shopping

    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    E-Textile Tailor Shop by KOBAKANT
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    Since 2020, Hannah is guest professor of the Spiel&&Objekt Master's program at the University of Performing Arts Ernst Busch in Berlin

    From 2013-2015 Mika was 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

    FT1: Tailoring with Electronic Textiles I

    14-17th November 2017 hosted jointly by Interface Cultures and Fashion and Technology departments at the Art University Linz, Austria

    * * * This workshop is only open to Art University Linz students. Students should only sign up for this course if they can commit to attending the full schedule (see bellow). * * *

    >> Flickr photo set

    Companies are working on industrializing production processes for e-textiles, and soon we will see wearable technology as a category in shops on every high-street. We’ve become so used to technology being something we purchase ready-made.
    When selecting the cloths we will wear and the technology we’ll use, we’ve become so used to it being something we purchase ready-made, instead of having it made-to-order or making it ourselves. We choose a brand, a style, a colour of plastic, we select from a variety presented to us but we have no control over what goes onto these selves.

    Tailored e-textile exercise examples

    We want to find out what people want e-textile and wearable technology to do for them by providing tailor-made experiences. If there are no ready-made objects but only made-to-order, what will we order? Do we order the same things as we see in the shops and the media? Or can we imagine something different?

    In this course, we will perform an experiment in the above scenario. We will collect six commissions from local Linzers who have ideas for what a particular technology could do for them. Students will be trained in tailoring e-textile and wearable technology and will then meet and interview the local “customers” before going on to interpret, design and realize their commissions.


    Through a series of short lectures and introductory activities, students will be introduced to smart textiles, wearable technology, soft circuits and electronic textiles. We encourage a learning-by-doing approach to making technology. Lectures will be brief, and the majority of course time will be spent in hands-on introductory exercises, prototyping and producing final commissions.

    The exact wearable technology that these commissions will be based off will be announced at the beginning of the course.

    Tailored e-textile exercise examples


    Di 14.11.2017 17:30 19:00 Interface Cultures Seminarraum (DO0327)
    Mi 15.11.2017 10:00 18:00 Austria Tabak Werke
    10:00- 13:00 Introduction to Arduino (optional)
    14:00- 16:00 Introduction to E-Textile
    16:00- 18:00 Commissioner interview

    Do 16.11.2017 10:00 18:00 Austria Tabak Werke
    10:00- OpenEnd Commission production
    Fr 17.11.2017 10:00 18:00 Austria Tabak Werke
    10:00- 17:00 Commission production
    17:00- Commissioner review

    Bike Lights


    We just got back from Linz/Austria where we played E-Textile Tailor Shop for 3 days with a wonderful group of students at the Art University. We elicited commissions for custom Bike Light Jackets from 5 local Linzers ahead of time and students know nothing of this until the first day of class.

    The course began with an evening lecture (presentation slides here) that introduced them to our own (real?) E-Textile Tailor Shop project in Berlin.

    >> Workshop page
    >> Flickr photo set

    The following day we taught a crash-course into Arduino programming and e-textile materials and techniqies.
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz

    In the late afternoon that same day Students formed five groups of three each, and each met with one of the locals to receive their commission.

    Daniela’s – Low-Tech Reflect

    Dawn, Giacomo, Melanie
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz
    Daniela's design sketch

    Hannes’ – Cowboy Safety

    Afra, Mirela, Sam
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz

    Luis’ – Maritime Lights

    Amir, Karoline, Stefan
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz

    Martin’s – Classic

    Guillem, Tania, Wai Wai
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz

    Rosi’s – Spiral of Awareness

    Ines, Kay, Kevan
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz
    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz
    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz

    Two of the commissioners (Hannes and Martin) brought jackets that they already owned to be altered into bike light jackets. For two other commissions (Rosi, Luis) we shopped for second hand jackets ahead of time based on their initial wishes that they submitted to us the week before. Only Daniela’s commission for a netted vest was made from scratch. In retrospect it was a really good decision to work on “augmenting” existing clothing items rather than tailoring from scratch, because students only had 2 days to complete the commissions and there would not have been time for them to tailor jackets from scratch.

    Students had 1-2 hours with their commissioners to interview them about what they want and decide on what they could realistically offer to make them. After the commissioners left, the students spent another few hours coming up with with a concrete translation of what had been talked. This process of interpreting the wishes/desires/requests of the commissioners takes time. Students needed to negotiate the wishes of their commissioners and their own creative input as well as what they could realistically make in 2 days. At the end of this first full day, some of the ideas had grown to include quite a lot of different functions, including various sensors and indicator signals. By the morning of the second day, students had simplified these ideas down to a single function and began work.

    Work on the second day included:
    Deciding where the LED lights should go on the jacket (front back, area…)
    How to turn the light on and off (separate switch or just plug in battery)
    What kinds of LEDs to use (SMD single LEDs, through-hole LEDs with curled legs, Neopixels)
    Plan and implement the code for the Arduino Flora
    Prototype the circuit with crocodile clips or on a breadboard
    Make samples to test materials, techniques, aesthatics
    Draw how to layout the circuit on the body
    Is the circuit visible or hidden? If visible, what kind of style is it (handmade, slick, sporty…)?
    Transferring the circuit layout to the garment
    Sewing, sewing and fusing!
    Fixing breaks, debugging code…
    Task division (circuit layout, sewing, programming)

    We organized sandwich materials and ate together for lunch, and for dinner we cooked vegetable stew with couscous while the students continued working. The second full day of work ended at 23:00.

    Tailoring Bike Light Jackets in Linz

    Everybody was back at 10:00 the next morning to continue work and finish their circuits, sensors and LED soldering.

    At 16:00 on the second day the local Linz commissioners came back to pick up their “orders”.

    Daniela’s – Low-Tech Reflect

    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz
    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz

    Hannes’ – Cowboy Safety

    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz
    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz

    Luis’ – Maritime Lights

    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz
    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz

    Martin’s – Classic

    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz
    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz

    Rosi’s – Spiral of Awareness

    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz
    Bike Light Jacket workshop Linz

    After three days of learning and hard work to produce these commissioners we asked the student tailors to calculate how much time they had spent working on their jackets and to propose a price that they would ask for this work if it had been a real commission.
    We also asked the commissioners to tell us how much they would want to pay for a Bike Light Jacket like the one they had commissioned.

    The materials costs of each Bike Light Jacket come to about 25-30 Euro:
    16 Euro Flora
    4 Euro USB power hub
    2 Euro USB cable
    2 Euro Snaps
    3 Euro Conductive fabrics and threads

    Further Reading and References

    FT1 2016 – Material Mechanisms for Utopian Uniforms: http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=6147
    KOBA Maßschneiderei: http://www.kobakant.at/KOBA/
    Hannah’s Flickr set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/plusea/albums/72157665902356549
    Getting Started in Electronics >> https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5jcnBPSPWQyaTU1OW5NbVJQNW8/edit

    Intro to Arduino

    Download Arduino: http://arduino.cc/
    Open Arduino
    Because we are using the Adafruit Gemma we need to add it to the boards manager.
    In the Arduino –> Preferences –> “Additional Boards Manager URLs” – copy/paste the following:

    LED Circuit Options

    Single LEDs in Parallel

    >> http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=4632

    Single LEDs Charlieplexed (more for less)

    >> http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=5227
    >> http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=3800


    >> http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=7040

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