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    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

    Crafting Sensory Surfaces

    A part of textiles summer school at DLAB KIT Kyoto Japan.
    August 19 – 30, 2019

    Textiles stand at the forefront of material technology offering a staggering range of characteristics for designers to exploit: touch, fold, stretch, stroke, squeeze, scrub, etc. We manipulate textile surfaces that surround us in various ways.
    By embedding e-textile materials these surfaces are capable of becoming sensors that detect our interaction and act as soft interfaces for digital devices. Yet, we do not have a wide range of vocabulary for these electronic devices. What will future technologies look, feel, sound, and act like? How will we use them? How will we understand them in our cultural context?

    The participants will be introduced to various conductive textile materials and their electrical properties; how to construct sensors using a range of textile techniques (weaving, knitting, crocheting, embroidering, bonding, smocking, felting…) and read them with a microcontroller. We will also experiment with textile speakers and play back sound samples from microcontrollers. The workshop is intended for beginners and does not require previous knowledge in programming and electronics.

    The workshop was a part of the Textiles Summer School at the Kyoto Institute of Technology, organized by Prof. Julia Cassim. The school started off with learning about the traditional weaving techniques of the “Chirimen” fabric, following the visit to the Chirimen weavers in Kyotango region. With a lot of input from this fascinating weaving techniques, intricate crafts skills of the weavers and designs of kimono fabric we were introduced in the Kyotango archive, we started our experiments on e-textiles.

    Photos from the KIT textiles summer school 2019 >>


    The workshop started off with the introduction to the e-textile materials we can use during the workshop. Please see the “Materials” section on the bottom for the details.

    Download the workshop booklet PDF from here >>

    materials noteworkshop tutorial
    tutorial notesworkshop tutorial

    Then the participants were made into group of 4, and made their first fabric sensors following the sample designs.
    Fabric Button >> http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=48
    Tilt sensor>> http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=201
    Fabric Bend sensor >> https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Softwaretarget="_blank">http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=20
    bonded bend sensor >> https://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=6835
    felted pressure sensor>> https://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=7795
    knit stretch sensor >> http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=2108

    workshop tutorialworkshop tutorial
    workshop tutorialworkshop tutorial

    After finishing the sensors, we measured the range of resistance change with multimeter and calculated the mean resistance.
    Then we did a physical experiment with voltage divider using 9V battery.

    The next step is to learn about Arduino and read the fabric sensors with Arduino. You can download the Arduino IDE (software) from here >> https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

    sketch >> File/ Examples/ 0.1Basics/ AnalogReadSerial

    You can open the serial monitor (from tools or from right top corner icon) and see which value Arduino is reading. The range of analog reading is 0-1023.
    You can also use serial plotter and see the value as a graph. In this case, you want to add the following line to fix the graph range.

    We also explored following functions of Arduino

    For people who want to play better sound, you can also look into the Mozzi library >> https://sensorium.github.io/Mozzi/

    The sensors we made are either contact switch (on/off) or resistive sensors that change its electrical resistance when manipulated.
    One can also make another type of sensor with e-texitle materials which is called capactive sensor.
    Here is the details of capacitive sensor and link to download the capacitive sensor library.

    In the workshop, we have also used sound board mini from adafruit to play back the .wav file. Here is the tutorial from Adafruit about how to use this board >> https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-audio-fx-sound-board/triggering-audio

    3D print + fabric
    there was some question about 3D printing on fabric. Here is an example of 3D printing on fabric from Lara Grant.

    Also this sample from Rachel Freire explores the stretchy 3D print combination with fabric >> http://etextile-summercamp.org/swatch-exchange/3d-printing-garments-seams-and-conductive-traces/

    Group works

    The participants were asked to select one fabric sample from the archive and pick a sound sample that corresponds to the impression they get from the fabric sample. Using this sound sample as the starting point, they were asked to design a surface that sense human interaction that represent the sound that one has chosen.

    Group A
    working processworking processGroup A outcome detailsGroup A outcome detailsGroup A outcome detailsGroup A outcome details

    Group B
    workshop tutorialgroup B processgroup B processgroup B outcomegroup B outcome

    Group C
    group C processgroup discussionsgroup discussionsgroup C outcomeprocessgroup C outcomegroup C outcomegroup C outcome

    Group D
    working processlisa weavinggroup D processhoney comb woven sample with high twist yarngroup D outcme processgroup D outcme processprocessprocess

    Group E
    group E processgroup discussiongroup E outcomegroup E outcomegroup E outcomegroup E outcomegroup E outcome


    Highly conductive textile materials
    Copper Ripstop Fabric Shieldex Kassel
    Company: Statex
    Characteristics: Corrosion proof copper-silver plated polyamide ripstop fabric, < 0.03 Ohms/cm2 surface resistivity.

    Shieldex Technik-tex
    Company: Statex
    Characteristics: Silver plated knitted fabric, 78% Polyamide + 22% Elastomer plated with 99% pure silver, < 2 Ohms/cm2 surface resistivity (front/visible side). stretchy in one direction

    High Flex 3981 7X1
    company: Karl Grimm
    Characteristic: Very conductive, Solder-able

    Shieldex Shieldex 235/34
    company: Statex
    Characteristic: Shieldex 235/34 dtex 4-ply HC: Silver plated, 50 Ω/m ± 10 Ω/m

    Elitex Fadenmaterial Art Nr. 235/34 PA/Ag
    company: Imbut GmbH
    Characteristic: silver conductive thread (100% polyamid beschichtet mit silber

    Materials: Resistive (not so conductive) textile materials
    Eeonyx non woven carbon resistive
    Company: Eeonyx
    Characteristics: Resistive material (2k), non woven, can be used to make pressure or bend sensor

    Eeonyx stretch woven carbon resistive
    Company: Eeonyx
    Characteristics: Resistive material (2k), knit/ jersey, Stretch in both direction. Can be used to make pressure or stretch sensor

    Company : 3M
    We bought it from lessEMF, but 3M produces it and there are more retailers.
    Characteristics: Piezo resistive. Changes its resistance when pressed. Good for pressure sensors.

    Nm50/3 Bekinox conductive yarn
    Company: Bekaert
    Characteristics: Nm50/3 conductive yarn, 80% polyester 20% stainless steel, light grey. You can make stretch/pressure sensitive surface with this.

    conductive wool
    Company: Bekaert
    Characteristic: Wool fiber mixed with stainless steel fiber, Suitable for felting

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