-Video (Including creation process & troubleshooting & final work-
In this final work, I would like to create an interactive way existing in a wearable outfit. I finally made the decision of making an interactive method on a hoodie. I gained inspiration for this object from both the content of the lecture and the patterns on the original hoodie. I was really into the use of capacitive touch, hoping to create something with capacitive touch being applied. Later, I brainstormed and came up with some ideas that I could extend.
My first idea was to create a lighting, adjustable collar. In the middle of the collar, I could design a special pattern, when it connects with the one on the other side of the collar, the circuit will be closed and the collar will light up. I later found that it might be difficult to make a pattern like that because the length of the centre part of the collar will be hard to match perfectly. Then I came up with another idea, which was to use capacitive touch to control the light on the shirt. I will hide the tail of the capacitive touch in my pocket, so, when people place their hands in the pocket, they can control the patterns illuminating on the shirt.
-Final Concept/ Objective-
I finally decided to combine the two elements altogether by creating an interactive hoodie using capacitive touch. I decided to make this and there are three main reasons. The first reason is that for the previous assignments, I had explored the strategy by closing a circuit and making the lights up for several times. So, in this assignment, I would like to try something new. The second reason is that the hoodie was a very good medium to perform my concept. I could decorate the hat on the hoodie and hide the capacitive touch inside of the pocket. The third reason is that I see this could be an idea that fulfills all the wearability requirements. It will have a good outlook, easy access to use, and a well-protected structure to avoid the circuit being hurt, and it will be comfortable for people to use and wear.
- conductive thread
- light-tight fabric
- Circuit Playground Express
- wire with non-conductive cover
- non-conductive fabric
- (optional) a hoodie with a hat and pocket
- sewing supplies such as scissors, non-conductive thread, sewing machine (optional)
- mobile power supply/battery
- USB charge wire
Material trying out: At the beginning, I tried to explore different materials and fabrics’ degrees of transmittance of light. I made some cute lighting bubbles with a layer of shading fabric, a layer of recycled silk and a space to fill buttons. I decided to insert buttons because I found that it will help to spread lights from the LED inside of the bubble evenly.
Because there are some existing patterns on my hoodie, I later decided to directly put my LEDs inside of the patterns that were already existing. However, I rethought the initial idea of my creation and found that my artwork lacked a theme. I then decided to add something related to fashion in my artwork. 2021 is the cow year in the Chinese traditional calendar, so I decided to add a cow horn on the hat by using the same material so my artwork can resonate with the fashion trend and the culture.
I later designed the circuit of my work and tested the code. I tried to avoid the intersection of the circuit but found it was not possible.
I sew the circuit on the hat. Before I did that, I sewed an extra layer using a sewing machine on the inner side of the hat so I could sew my circuit without influencing the hat’s appearance. I later used nail polish on the conductive thread after I did the circuit sewing. For the capacitive lines, I used a very thin wire as it is covered by insulation material. So even though there are some intersections, the circuit will work perfectly as well.
On the capacitive touch side, I sew three buttons on the inner layer of the pocket. I noticed that I should always use the buttons where the centre is sag as that will reduce the possibilities for users to touch the capacitive buttons mistakenly.
I finally added a third layer in the hat of the hoodie so the outfit will be very clean.
- Comfortable: For making the circuit being comfortable to wear on the hoodie, I added two extra laters to my hoodie hat to make that a “sandwich” structure. The first “bread” underneath will be the original layer of the hat, the “vegetables” in the middle will be the second layer I sewed above the original hat (which is the layer I sewed all the circuits on). The other “bread” layer on the sandwich will be the layer I sewed after I did all the circuits to hide the circuit. Besides the hat of the hoodie, I also sewed another layer inside the body of the hoodie to hide the capacitive wires inside between the layer and the hoodie, so people will not feel any circuit or wires.
- Aesthetic: For making the final work looks well-polished, I first made attempt to use the sewing machine to make the button lighting bubbles. However, I later found that I still could not make every detail perfect. Taking the snow flick as an example, I could not use the sewing machine to sew a snow-flake shape, instead, I can only sew that as a pentagon. However, if I make the pattern as a pentagon, it will not look sloppy. Especially when the LED inside is not lighting up and people could not see the snow-flick shape inside of it. As a result, I used the original patterns on the hoodie instead and later changed my idea into making cow horns to make the hoodie decorations more polished.
- Durability: The hoodie will be good to wear and not easy to be broken. As I used layers circuits between other layers of fabrics. I also used nail polish to make the conductive thread coated so there will not be any “short circuit” to break the CPX. I also added a lot of stitching using embroidery on each line of the conductive thread circuit so they will not be twisted with each other. I also designed each pattern of this project to look good even there are no LEDs lighting up. So even people wear this hoodie without concerning this circuit functions, it will also look on them.
- Usability: This hoodie as a wearable electronics project will be good to use. That is because I set the triggers of the capacitive touch inside of the pocket. So people could access them easily. Manipulating the capacitive touch in the pocket will also make this a personal behaviour for the users and they will be able to perform themselves anytime in anywhere they want.
- I am currently using a mobile power supply as the power supply of this work. The disadvantage is that the mobile power supply will be disconnected every 10 seconds. In the future, I would like to apply another way of doing power supply such as batteries, so the CPX will not be easily disconnected and people can carry the power supply easily at the same time.
- I will further explore my cotton light bubbles by making them more polished to be displayed. I choose not to use the cotton light bubbles with patterns that I made because they looked a little bit wired when LEDs are not lighting up. I would like to find a way which makes the patterns look great on the hoodie even if the LED inside is not illuminating.
Mackey, A. (2019, March 1). Vega Edge. SOCIAL BODY LAB. http://socialbodylab.com/vega-edge/.
neidlinger , kristin. (n.d.). GER Mood Sweater. Sensoree. https://www.sensoree.com/artifacts/ger-mood-sweater/.
Capacitive Touch. (2021). Week8 lecture- Capacitive Touch. https://canvascloud.ocadu.ca/courses/1271/pages/intro-to-week-7-~7-min?module_item_id=124057.
Prior, O. (2021). Wearability. Week7 lecture- wearability. https://canvascloud.ocadu.ca/courses/1271/pages/wearability-~40-min?module_item_id=124060.