In support of our newly developed class, we found ourselves writing a reader to explain different techniques, material sourcing and structures of textiles that could be leveraged for so-called “smart” applications (but if you read our intro, you see we get into a bit more complexity on that). This has been authored by Laura Devendorf, Sasha De Koninck and Steven Frost but it is available via Github so you can contribute as well if you so wish. You can find the complete book at the link below:
We developed a course and curriculum for teaching textile structures to an audience of students interested in engineering and physical prototyping. We have released this course, as well as our materials lists, kits, and assignments, as an open education resource here: https://unstable.design/soft-object/_book/
As a next phase in ongoing explorations of sensing textiles, we have created this exhibition piece of a fabric that remembers where and how it was pressed.
The fabric is currently on display at Accenture Labs in San Francisco and uses both the fabric and tablet to visualize touch in realtime. The constraint that guided the work was to get as much of the circuitry as possible embedded into the fabric. Thus, for the e-textiles nerds out there, you might be happy to know that all of the wiring for the resistive sensing and voltage dividing is embedded into the fabric by way of using different resistance yarns. We have included all of the swatches I made in preparation for the final design for reference.
Authors on this project are Laura Devendorf, Sasha De Koninck, Shanel Wu and Emma Goodwill.
Knotting began for me as a way to mark time. But as our lives changed because of the impact of the coronavirus, knots evolved into an exercise to ease anxiety. It was now a way to mark time and emotion. My relationship to time and memory has changed a lot since we began ‘staying-at-home’. I feel the passage of time more acutely. I have a hard time remembering when something happened. Maybe it was only one week ago, but it feels like months have passed.
Uncertainty and instability have become trendy words because of the coronavirus. The things in our lives that we perceived as stable or certain are no longer seen or felt that way. I wanted to explore this idea of uncertainty/instability in relation to garments and textiles. Garments are often referred to as a second skin, or security blanket. What happens when they fall apart? Sweaters and knitwear have the potential to unravel. Clothing can wear out, or tear. But I wanted to think about designing for falling apart. Or more specifically, dissolving.
What if the act of wearing a garment causes it to fall apart? The moisture produced by our bodies has the potential to cause a garment to come apart, or in this case, dissolve.
‘Knotting. Knotted. Knot’ is the first iteration of this research. ‘Knotting. Knotted.Knot’ uses water soluble embroidery interfacing as the ground for knots to accumulate. Instead of making an identifiable garment, I instead kept the embroideries in the abstract forms that they took, expressing the state of the emotions that the knots are keeping a record of.
The Research Lab of Ambiguous Futurology creates heirlooms for the future. At the lab, Sasha studies future scenarios and creates wearables in response to those futures. We are living in uncertain times, some might even say, ambiguous times. The Internet of Things is evolving into the Internet of Disposable Things. Our technology is becoming smaller and cheaper to produce. We are creating so much waste, and have no ways of processing it. What is the future we are creating for ourselves?
At the Research Lab of Ambiguous Futurology, we want to create objects for you to preserve for future use. An antique heirloom is traditionally a used object which is preserved to be passed down to future generations to treasure, but its usefulness has typically passed. A future heirloom is an object whose usefulness has not been used up. You preserve your future heirloom for future use. And once it can no longer serve its purpose, it must be repurposed, recycled or revised.
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 email@example.com as we may look to develop a forum for public engagement and critique.
ATLS 4519/5519: Soft Objects
ATLAS 113 – Blow Things Up Lab