Electronic Wearables


Midi board

Imagine a T-shirt in which you can control lights, sounds and images? The “MIDI-Board” (2017) t-shirt is a textile version of controllers used by musicians and visual artists like djs and vjs. This project explores the possible applications and potential of conductive ink in textile and is part of a series of experiments using real time data and electronic wearables.

To sonify the body movements, Yamaha released in 1994 a musical wearable instrument called Miburi and it was used by musicians and performers. And finally, two years ago, an English startup released a commercial textile based wearable instrument. The Mi.Mu gloves is open source and so far, only few djs and experimental musicians are using it. If you want to know more about what it can do , I suggest you to watch the Ted talk of Imogen Heap. In contrast to wearable gadgets, e-garments can cover comfortably the skin surface, being, so, less obtrúsive. During this research , I wanted to make comfortable interactive wearables that are easy to wear, to transport and to play with. Therefore, the question of how to seamlessly integrate the technology within the textile structure became my motivation.

The project consisted of two wearables, the sleeves using digital input and the t-shirt using analog input. Both are connected to the lightblue bean, which sends MIDI signal via bluetooth to the computer. And I am using, in this case, Ableton as a software to sonify the motion of the body. However, the scenario is much broader than that. This platform can be used by different users profile with different goals. Because it is possible to convert data into sounds and images to project into spaces. Also, you can connect it with different apps to control games and lights. The possibilities are endless.

The project was supported by the Media Interface professorship of the Bauhaus Universität and was part of my master thesis called “Codes in Motion” (2017) and by the DAAD scholarship.

Synth Sleeves

Made out of resistive threads, the Synth Sleeve is a stretch sensor which detects the motion of the body’s articulations. This project explores stitching methods to produce textile sensors and is part of a series of experiments using real time data and electronic wearables.

For the sleeves, I knitted string tubes to cover the cables which connects the sensor to the hardware So, to capture the position of the arm, the sleeves are, actually, stretch sensors which use analog input. The knitted sleeves have two strings and one connects to the analog pin which is internally connected to 3.3V and the other string connects to the ground.

Trying to integrate the technology within the textile structure I used old textiles method such as stitching, crochet and knitting to produce sensors. From this table it was possible to understand that the best option was the knitted sensor, because after stretching it, it goes back easily to its initial position

So as you can see in the first picture I made my hand-made knitting machine and I produced more knitted sensors with different qualities, being big, small, large, thin and with different thickness of wool.

Here I am evaluating 4 of those sensors. The A, C and D has resistive thread in all the knitted circular structure but A is made with a thicker wool. The B option has only a stripe of resistive thread knitted on it. So I found the C sensor , as the best option. Because Unlike B, which delivers a large range of data values, the C one captures more precisely the angle of the arm due its circular shape. This part of the research was digested in a paper which was presented at the beginning of November at the D_TEX Textile Design Conference 2017 in Lisbon.

In the project above, one can see how the connection goes with the wearables and textile. The project was supported by the Media Interface professorship of the Bauhaus Universität and was part of my master thesis called “Codes in Motion” (2017) and by the DAAD scholarship.

The noises and the changes

Connected with 555timer, this convertable wearable sonifies its contact with the skin. Wondering how would I to hear the interaction with my garments, in this experiment I used an oscilator with conductive threads connected to an old project investigating the semiotic of dressing up, called "Articulando". Whenever this piece is ajusted in the body, a sound is outputted and modulated according to the garment in relation to my body.

The 555 timer IC is an integrated circuit (chip) used in a variety of timer, pulse generation, and oscillator applications. The 555 can be used to provide time delays, as an oscillator, and as a flip-flop element. As you can see in the video, the sound will vary according to the pression I am making on the textile or the amount of surface that my hands are touching.

If you are wondering how I've done this piece, I will leave bellow a video which show the conductive threads on the fabric and the hardware that I build before integrate it in the fabric.

In this link you can check a step-by-step documentation, with circuits and other experimentations.

Here you find the fabric

Night Bag

The Night Bag was build using weaven optic fiber.Even when it's possible to DIY, this one I bought online.The advantage is that it comes with the power bank and the fabric-LED-hardware connector comes together, turning this idea very easy to integrate and realiable. On the other hand, some hacking has to be done if you want to connect it to the Arduino.

Here you find the fabric

The Butterfly

Air-quality detector


Here some experiments.

  • Midi board
  • Synth Sleeves
  • Night Bag
  • The noise and the changes
  • Air-quality detector
  • The butterfly
  • Paranoia

If you have any question, I will be happy to answer. Have fun!