ASMR as Design Inspiration

When I first watched an ASMR video I was both fascinated and confused. I found these videos to be fantastically strange because they had an uncanny way of taking conventionally boring objects and situations and turning them into a source of interest and relaxation for millions of people. I wondered if the way that we interact with ASMR videos is reshaping our relationships with technology. Or perhaps indicative of some cultural shift that is already underway. Over the course of a year, I worked with Laura to gain a deeper understanding of ASMR related media and whether or not it could be relevant to the design of technology, specifically the wearable kind. This project included: an indepth look at ASMR videos on youtube and tried to isolate their unique aesthetic qualities; a pilot study where users took home a “sonic toolkit” in order to understand how “ASMR-like” sounds relate to everyday life; and an interview with a Melinda Lauw, a “live” ASMR creator. The project culminated in the creation of two interactive garments that are based off of Laura and I’s individual interpretations of how ASMR videos can inspire wearable technology for connecting meaningfully with our surroundings. 

Designing early concepts for impossible sonic garments
The listening jacket sound amplifies and distorts environmental sounds, like the satisfying clicki-ness of this keyboard.
The screaming coat triggers audio playback to breath, allowing one to scream with their samples

To learn more about the garments as well as all of our different ideas surrounding ASMR and design please check out the paper! 


Links

Soft Object – A New Course to be Offered in Fall 2020

Laura Devendorf and Sasha de Koninck are designing a new course to be offered in Fall 2020, Soft Object. The course will cultivate a community of material researchers seeking to make soft things that expand how we think of interactivity. While starting with soft circuits, the class will support material investigations with novel techniques for textile structure, growth, computation and decomposition. Students will learn about different soft material structures, properties, and possibilities. As a course, we will develop, refine, and publish novel techniques for smart/functional fabrics in the form of a physical and open source digital “swatch book.” Students we will think about the history and future of textile and soft-object making, while conducting their own material investigations.

We are designing the course to run mostly virtually. If you are a CU grad student or undergraduate student, please join us. If you are an interested global community member, please get in touch with us via unstabledesignlab@gmail.com as we may look to develop a forum for public engagement and critique.


ATLS 4519/5519: Soft Objects
Monday/Wednesday 3:00-4:40
ATLAS 113 – Blow Things Up Lab

Official Listings: ATLS 4519 //ATLS 5519

Digital Crafts-Machine-Ship

Some friends and I recently collaborated on a written piece devoted to the topic of crafts-machine-ship, which is our rethinking the relevance and meaning of “craft” within the field of human-computer interaction. Led by Kristina Anderson, a good friend and fellow TC2-tamer, the piece brings together from design, philosophy, textiles, and electronic music to express how we want more from our machines. In doing so, we consider the wisdom of luddites, describe a craft machine as swimming, and playfully interject the word “sammunsurium” which is an amazing and untranslatable Danish word that I have come to learn means something of a beautiful mess. you can read it here:

 

AdaCAD

AdaCAD is online software for design woven drafts for both frame and jacquard-style looms. It is still in an early testing phase, so if you would like to use it, we’d love your feedback.

To use AdaCAD visit: https://adacad-weaver.firebaseapp.com/

How to Use AdaCAD

The Inspiration for AdaCAD

Photo of the AdaCAD user interface

AdaCAD is a software platform that we built to support designing woven drafts and circuitry schematics in tandem. The tool is open-source and we are still working out the final design details so it is more broadly usable. Mainly, AdaCAD offers support for commonly used features in smart textiles weaving like multilayer weaves and viewing your weave in terms of the draft as well as the paths of the individual yarn types within the design.  Currently, it is designed to output files for weaving an a TC2 loom. Future updates include supports for harness looms.

Links:

Read Mikhaila’s Presentation from CHI 2019

In May 2019, Mikhaila presented AdaCAD at the annual conference on Human Computer Interaction (CHI) describing our web application for designing smart woven textiles. The work was a collaborative project between Mikhaila Friske, Shanel Wu, and Laura Devendorf. The conference talks were not recorded, but you can view the transcript of our presentation below or read the paper here. 

Continue reading AdaCAD

Some Teaser Images from our Experimental Weaving Residency

While we go through the process of formally documenting and writing up our findings from this year’s experimental weaving residency (sponsored by a Materials-Based Research Grant from the Center for Craft), we thought we’d share a few images of the projects and prototypes that emerged. Above: a series of explorations of elastic weave structures and memory foam stuffed pockets used to maintain skin contact of woven electrodes.

Continue reading Some Teaser Images from our Experimental Weaving Residency

HCI Amusements

In May, Laura presented some new research at the annual conference on human computer interaction (CHI) describing what the field of Human-Computer Interaction might learn from the artist network known as Fluxus. The work was a collaborative project between Laura, Kristina Andersen, Daniela Rosner, Ron Wakkary and James Pierce. The conference talks were not recorded, but you can view the transcript of our presentation below or read the paper here:

Continue reading HCI Amusements

Overshot Weave Generator

I was in love with the fabric below and wanted to weave a similar pattern for myself. I didn’t have the tie up, but I did have the photo of the fabric, so I reverse engineered it. I found it really difficult to design the overall patterning of the stripes and tie ups at the same time so I wrote a processing script to allow me to more playfully make patterns with my keyboard, and have those generate my tie up. I released the code on GitHub so others could do the same.

Designing Machines for Human-Wind Collaboration

An exploration into new mechanisms for jacquard weaving, as well as an ongoing interest in asking how non-human materials or forces can be engaged as collaborators resulted in the prototype of the wind loom—a modified tapestry loom that with every 4th warp connected to a sail that moves the warp position in and out. The fabrication of the loom was led by Jen Mah and Rachel Bork, who iterated between several prototypes for laser-cut heddle/hooks that can be attached to the yarn, arms are connected to umbrellas that can move when the wind blows, easily attachable and detachable components to support easy travel, and so on. The prototyping process was complex and frustrating, as the summer in which we prototyped was not very windy and it was hard to test in its specific working conditions we imagined for the loom. Local weaver, and friend, Julie Rodriguez, took the prototype out for a test and captured the photo above. Her approach was to wait for a gust, and then weave into the wind-produced shed with alternating colors that she chose.
Continue reading Designing Machines for Human-Wind Collaboration

How to Weave a Sensing and Color Changing Fabric

This is a first prototype of a vision of a force-fabric. When integrated into a garment, this textile could capture and replay how your body made contact with other bodies in the world. Those bodies may be human, created through the experiences of hugs or holding children, but they may also be of nonhuman forces – heavy winds or couches pressed upon ones back. The concept is to think of ways technology can make us aware of how we are physically supporting and supported by other objects and environmental forces. It sees garments as a interesting surfaces of intersection between self and other.

 

We created this first textile by double weaving sections of color changing yarn (resistive heating wire painted with a mixture of thermochromic pigments that change at different temperatures) on the front face and then integrating conductive pads on the back or under layer of the fabric. We used a tapestry technique to integrate a second piece of conductive yarn along a segment of the warp above the touchpad such that when it is pressed it completes the circuit. The double weaving structure makes the connective “guts” invisible from the front. Thus, the textile does not invite you to touch and poke it (how would you know where to touch), it simply captures a “picture” of the different press regions.

Laura Devendorf wove the fabric on an Schacht 8-shaft Baby Wolf loom, warped at 20 ends per inch

Continue reading How to Weave a Sensing and Color Changing Fabric

Beyond Hybrids: Metaphors and Margins in Design

Published at Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2017. This paper describes how the metaphor of the hybrid shapes how we imagine the future of technology. Drawing on feminist technoscience, We propose the alternative metaphor of coproductions to provoke visions for human-technology futures.