Ahmad Ibrahim – speculative you

For this project i chose to focus on a dystopian future narrative where the character that wears this helmet is an alien life form. This character survives off of the energy of other life forms by sucking the life out of them. The alien uses the helmet to suck up energy through the laser on the left of the helmet and the energy flowing is portrayed through the EL wire lighting.

process work:


I first started out with a foam head to draft the helmet pattern by applying tape and cutting out the parts to transfer over to the EVA foam.




I then glued the foam parts together and heat formed the parts to create the curves.


After several trials i managed to achieve the right shape.



afterwards i applied battle damage and metallic paint.

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lastly I installed the lighting and laser.


Technique Exploration – Weaving

Loom Introduction

Weaving is an ancient technique that we continue to use today with technological advancements. Many of our textiles are woven on industrial looms allowing for the mass manufacture of cheap clothing. Jacquard looms were also an early development in computer science, allowing for “(t)he ability to store and automatically reproduce complex operations…”. Jacquard Loom



Step-­by-­step ‘how to’

Beginner’s Guide to Weaving

Resources in the GTA and OCAD 

OCAD’s Fibre Studio has a number of hand and floor looms available to students taking certain courses or with permission from the Head Fibre Technician Laurie Wassink; as was my case. Looms can be bought second hand fairly easily on sites like Kijiji but can get quite expensive with one-floor loom going for $750. An expensive investment unless one is planning on many projects. Another option is to join a Textile Co-op, similar to a Maker Space – and enjoy more space and equipment than most could afford on their own. Lastly one can try building their own loom to use.

Examples of this technique in use

While most weaving examples around the internet are for traditional weaving, the site “Get What You Want” demonstrates a few examples of how weaving can be incorporated into electronics

Electrical Examples






Technique in Three Different Ways

Previous to this experiment I had never used a loom to create a project though I had a chance to try using one around ten years ago and I still remember how enjoyable I found it. While I had no experience in using a loom the Fibre Studio faculty and students were kind enough to help me learn the basic skills. However, I did find myself limited by my lack of knowledge which can be remedied in the future with further exploration and study in weaving and other textile construction techniques.


Setting up the loom

  1. Woven Fibre Optic Filaments

For my first experiment, I wanted to use fiber optic filaments to create my own fabric. Fibre optic fabric that is available for purchase is expensive and comes in very limited sizes so I was curious to see what future potential there was for creating my own. I ordered the filament from Amazon though the limited size and expense means I will look for an alternative supplier in the future. One major factor was that the warp was already set up with a black yarn. To set up the warp with fiber optic filament would require an extensive period of time and a higher skill level. So in this case only the weft was fiber optic filament. As a first experiment I’m satisfied with this technique and will explore it again. Changes will be using thicker filaments, refining the filament sanding process and learning how to set up the warp.


Loom with fiber optic filament


Fiber optic filament


Woven fiber optic filament

2. Conductive Thread Circuit

The second experiment was to try and incorporate a circuit into a textile. I speculated on a future where we can interchange electronics on our wearables due to pre-made circuits on the clothing. This would make wearable technology more accessible for those that cannot sew. There are other ways pre-made circuits could be achieved but I choose to focus on the potential of weaving them in. I used conductive thread and made a bridge switch


Testing the circuit



Unfinished threads on back

3. Silicone Wire Circuit

My final experiment was to create another circuit but using silicone wire instead of conductive thread.

Completed Sample


Parts List

Part Number Part Description Quantity Supplier Cost
N.A. Red Yarn 1 OCAD U Fibre Studio $0.00
N.A. Grey Yarn 1 OCAD U Fibre Studio $0.00
N.A. Cream Yarn 1 OCAD U Fibre Studio $0.00
N.A. Plastruct FOP-10 Fibre Optics .010 1 Amazon $15.43
LILYB-008822 CR2032 Battery Holder 2 Creatron Inc. $2.35 x 2 = $4.70
BATTG-203200 CR2032 Coin Cell Battery 2 Creatron Inc. $1.65 x 2 = $3.30
LILYP – 010811 White LED 2 Creatron Inc. $1.70 x 2 = $3.40
FLORT-000603 Conductive thread – 30ft. 1 Creatron Inc. $4.85
WIRSI-002003 #30 Silicone Wire 1 Creatron Inc. $1.80

End of the World – 3016 A.D

Natasha Kurd

Speculative You

Wearable Electronics Studio

December 2016

Final Documentation – End of the World 3016 A.D


           For my final project, I have designed a half-bodice and half-shawl for a woman who is living in the year 3016 A.D. She is also the leader of a rebel group who is fighting against the wicked antagonist machines who have taken over the world. I have taken inspiration from movies with similar storylines, such as, The Matrix (1999), Elysium (2013) and Snowpiercer (2013). All three films have a protagonist fighting the controlling “establishment” (machines and/or antagonist) who eventually overcomes the establishment by leading a group of people to their destiny.

On the lower end of the shawl portion, I am going to add a row of LED lights to line the tip of the shawl, so that the rebel leader is able to go underground and light her way to secret meetings, transport food and medicine to other members of her group, set-up traps and escape (use the tip of the shawl like a flashlight). She can also hide her “flashlight” by tucking it within her shawl. The look of the bodice is meant to reflect her status as a rebel and low-income individual; therefore it is rugged, almost falling apart, ripped and messy.

Since natural resources such as water and land are limited, there is a more emphasis on struggling for food than clothing, so the rebel leader would need to wear this bodice most of the time. In my sketchbook, I have drawn by some designs, shot it on a screen (projected my designs onto a silkscreen), then printed the edited image using opaque silver printing ink.

Materials & Parts List

Organic Cotton & Hemp – Fibre Studio

MX Dye (Reactive) Navy – Fibre Studio (Made by Apoorva Varma)

Conductive Fabric – Creatron Inc.

Conductive Thread – Creatron Inc.

Silk Ramie – Fibre Studio

LED Lights White & Red – Creatron Inc.

Resistors 100 ohm – Creatron Inc.

Silver Opaque Ink Silkscreen – G&S Dye

100% Polyester Thread – Fibre Studio

Power Source & Battery 3V – Creatron Inc.

 Visual Process & Documentation

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 Research & Past Work & Inspiration

Martin, Paul. “Interview with Kim Barrett (Costume Designer) from The Matrix Reloaded.” Matrix Fans. WordPress, 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.

Vogueaustralia. “Jodie Foster Is the Best-dressed Character in Elysium, Wearing Custom Armani.” Vogue.com.au. NewsLifeMedia, 14 Aug. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

Livery, Lord Christopher. “Snow Piercer: Q&A with Costume Designer Catherine George.” Clothes On Film. Handpicked Media, 2014. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.


Referenced past work for circuit process




Inspiration taken from The Matrix (1999) – Martin, Paul. “Interview with George Hull (Concept Illustrator) from The Matrix Reloaded (2003).” MatrixFans.net. N.p., 2 May 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2016. 

Blog, B+ Movie. “Fun with Franchises: The Matrix Revolutions (2003), Part I — “The Tiny Indian Girl Became Hugo Weaving”.” B+ Movie Blog. WordPress Inc., 07 Mar. 2015. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.


Inspiration taken from Elysium (2013) – Unknown. “Agent Kruger.” Villains Wikia. Fandom TV Community, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2016. http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/File:Agent_Kruger.png


Hello, Tailor. “Interview: “Snowpiercer” Costume Designer Catherine George.” Interview: “Snowpiercer” Costume Designer Catherine George. Awesome Inc., Blogger, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

Prototyping Progress

Progress Between Version 1 & Version 2

             In version 1, I had mixed feelings of who to design for, the protagonist or antagonist? After spending some time playing around with draping my materials in Version 2, the idea dawned on me that it made more sense to design for the protagonist because the materials I used worked with that idea. When draping I added the silk ramie for more dimension and it was the perfect material for the ‘rugged’ look and frays easily which defined the wear and tear aspect I wanted. Originally I was just going to develop on top of Version 1 but I am glad I started a new because I think the thin material (cotton muslin) would’ve just made the design too weak and not strong enough to portray my idea. Using the MX reactive dye help define my wearable piece because almost all of the clothing in the three films are the same monochromatic tones of black, grey, dark navy, and earthy tones.

 Experience of Wearing
  • Felt comfortable
  • Stiff and rough
  • easily moveable
  • homeless
  • hide things inside


circuit – Link to circuit diagram/layout

*EDITED*Assignment 5: Speculative You Final: The Black Box




One of the most basic human predicaments is that of mortality. Through the decaying nature of the human body (and organic matter in general), limitations are imposed on the human experience by a single lifespan as well as by the basic needs that need to be met in order to survive. Ultimately, we must face our unavoidable mortality.

Taking inspiration from the technology found in airplanes designed to survive emergency situations such as a crash, The Black Box is a speculative wearable that stretches the definition of “wearable tech” to encompass an object that is “worn” by an accurately mapped biomechanical recreation of an individual’s brain. The project speculates about an era in which the body of a consciousness sidesteps or greatly delays many of the limitations imposed by a single lifetime and a relatively defenceless flesh box.


An artifact of this nature would need to fulfill many technical requirements. It would need to be constructed using material with high tensile strength so that it could withstand high energy impacts, such as in naturally occurring space phenomena, defence scenarios or in emergency landings. Alternatively, a concept explored in Larry Niven’s Known Universe series, the “slaver stasis field” could fulfill this requirement as well. The artifact would require resistance to heat and cold, would need to contain some kind of generator powered by renewable and/or readily available sources (solar cells, nuclear power), along with the ability to travel at relativistic speeds.


(above: “Return to Earth”. Matthew Crans. 2016)

It would require extremities with which to manipulate its surroundings (prehensile tentacles), and would need to contain a complex computational and mechanical system that could store and retrieve vast amounts of data on a scale that astronomically outclasses any system currently in existence, as well as provides the structure with the ability to repair and improve itself as data and physical resources are available. Lastly, it would need to run an AI system that allows it to both communicate with and learn from its surroundings and interactions.



(above: still from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) depicting the Monolith and pre-homo sapiens sapiens primates)

This project takes it’s inspiration from a number of sources, notably the mysterious and omnipresent “Monolith” detailed in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). In the classic sci-fi film, a mysterious black tablet known as the “Monolith” takes up residence in the solar system and interacts with pre-homo sapiens sapiens primates, presumably triggering the development of civilization by influencing the ape-like primates to use a tool to attack a competing tribe. Millions of years later, astronauts aboard a spacecraft operated by an AI system named HAL encounter the Monolith. One crew member, after being led through a vision sequence depicting them at various ages, is eventually transformed into a fetus which orbits and observes the Earth.


(above: “The Black Box VS the Monolith”. Matthew Crans. 2016)

The Black Box contains a similar air of mystery because of its apparently featureless structure. The imposing appearance of the artifact allows for a deep level of speculation about what technology conceivably lies inside, and tugs at and triggers a sense of awe and terror from observers. A structure of this nature could have existed for millennia, something that the project intends to suggest. What wisdom could an artifact like this with a developed conscience share with a civilization after having spent thousands of years exploring the galaxy and beyond?

ringworld_bilspitz di_fate_niven

(left: “Ringworld”. Bill Spitzak. c.1985; right: “Ringworld”. Dean Ellis. 1970)

Another inspiration is the concept of a “Ringworld” depicted in Larry Niven’s novel and series of the same name. The “Ringworld” is, “…an artificial ring about one million miles wide and approximately the diameter of Earth’s orbit (which makes it about 600 million miles in circumference), encircling a Sol-type star”(Wikia), and whose inner landmass is habitable. Similar to The Black Box and the “Monolith”, it is a mysterious alien artifact with an unclear origin inspiring awe, and which appears deceptively minimal.


(above: “Observation/Contemplation”. Matthew Crans. 2016)

The Black Box might also require another technology found in Ringworld known as the “slaver stasis field”, “…a field within which an object (or even a person) remains unaffected by the passage of time even for billions of years” and which acts as an airbag in crisis scenarios. Lastly, the material of which the Ringworld is constructed, “scrith”, has properties that should be identifiable in an artifact such as The Black Box: high tensile strength, conductivity, extreme temperature resistance, impact resistance etc.


The first iteration of The Black Box was completed for a similar wearables assignment completed for Erin Lewis in “Wearable Computing”. The following images depict process shots and the completed model.








The Black Box has crash landed on a habitable planet as a result of a storm of interplanetary debris disabling crucial components. The artifact enters a stasis mode while it attempts to repair itself. It is soon discovered by sentient inhabitants of the planet who observe cautiously. The Black Box, observing the inhabitants in return (and unbeknownst to them), begins to compile a library of their language in order to eventually communicate. The Black Box uses light and sound to deter the curious species from disturbing it before it can safely communicate and fully repair its systems and mobility.

Building on the concept developed in the previous wearables class, I intend to produce a similar model of The Black Box in a new environment, and containing functional electronics that depict an interaction between the artifact and its surroundings. I propose using a Ping sensor to detect proximity of an object to the Black Box, which will trigger a series of responses by the artifact in the form of light and sound.

Electronic Components:

  • Ping sensor
  • Arduino
  • Battery
  • Buzzer
  • LED’s

Other materials

  • Plaster fabric roll
  • Masonite
  • Newsprint
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Modeling putty
  • Mounting board
  • Exacto knife
  • Cutting mat



Electronic Components:

  • Arduino UNO – R3; DEV-11021
  • 9V Battery
  • 9V Battery Snap; BATTH-900010 (Creatron)
  • Conductive Thread Bobbin – 30ft (Stainless Steel); DEV-10867
  • LilyPad Tricolor LED; DEV-08467
  • Alligator Clips (red & black); PRT-12978
  • Low voltage wire (multiple colours); Creatron

Other materials:

  • Plaster fabric roll
  • Newsprint
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Mounting board
  • Exacto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Large paint brush




To make a relief map of my intended snowy landscape, I started with a rough 3D outline using newsprint and masking tape.


To cover the structure, I cut strips of plaster fabric from a large roll.


Partially covered!


Full coverage, now it needs to dry before paint is applied.


The Black Box consists of two parts: one which houses the electronics and front tendrils, and one which houses the other six tendrils and the body of the Box.


The RGB LED’s I had on hand needed to be soldered, so I opted for a sewable LED to get rid of that pesky problem. Using pliers, I formed circles at the end of each wire through which to sew.

Each pin of the Lilypad RGB LED has to be assigned to a digital pin on the Arduino (9, 10 and 11).


The wire that the 9V snap consists of is quite thin and consists of many small threads, so I used some alligator clips and extra wire to connect it to the VIN and GRND pins of the Arduino.



One element that was important for the final iteration of this concept given feedback from the previous class, was that the interaction between the Black Box and whatever it was encountering had to have better context that justified what was taking place.

I started to think about how every interaction would be unique in some way given the things, living and nonliving, that the BB could encounter. The possibilities were endless, so I reflected on a few different scenarios:

The Black Box is socially-minded/helpful

  • soothing
  • conducts risk-assessment procedures
  • passive listening builds language library
  • database scans – have any Black Boxes catalogued this species?
  • modeling behaviour, bio-mimicry to soothe/communicate
  • non-aggression
  • defensive maneuvers when met with aggression
  • provides knowledge
  • helps societies innovate, improve their technology

The Black Box is insociable/aggressive

  • sneaky
  • also conducts risk assessment (can I fell this foe?)
  • builds and deploys weaponry
  • offensive maneuvers (capturing cities, towns)
  • aggression
  • captivity
  • modeling behaviour to trick and overpower

In addition to the moral compass of the conscience within the Black Box, its behaviour and communication style will depend on its environment.

This interaction:


would differ greatly from this one:


For the purposes of this project, I decided that the Black Box would be making it’s first encounter with a species of ponies and unicorns found in the Clouds of Magellan, just outside the Milky Way on a wintery planet.

  • Species is peaceful and diplomatic, with the ability to be fierce and magical if threats arise
  • Welcoming: making offerings of giant bubbles and candy
  • BB responds by emitting a soft pulsing rainbow, one of the favourite colours of the pretty unicorns and ponies
  • Advanced communicators, society goes back millenia
  • Advanced technology, frilly packaging



Check out the rainbow in action!


2001: A Space Odyssey. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Prod. Stanley Kubrick. By Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, Geoffrey Unsworth, and Ray Lovejoy. Perf. Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, and William Sylvester. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968.

“Ringworld.” Larry Niven Wiki. Wikia. Web. 4 Dec. 2016.<http://larryniven.wikia.com/wiki/Ringworld>.

“Stasis Field.” Larry Niven Wiki. Wikia. Web. 4 Dec. 2016. <http://larryniven.wikia.com/wiki/Stasis_field>.

Niven, Larry. Ringworld. New York: Ballantine, 1970. Print.


Material Exploration: Leather and Imitation Leather


For my project I wanted to explore using leather and leather-imitation fabrics in sewing projects so I can get some experience working with them and learning different techniques based on the needs of the material.

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I tried brown and blue vinyl (top left and bottom right, respectively), real cattle leather (top middle and bottom left), conductive fabric (top right), and imitation leather (bottom middle)


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My first experiment was to make a “leather” glove that I could wear while using my phone. I drew out a pattern in the dark blue imitation leather (from Fabricland), then cut it out, leaving about a half inch to give some room when I flipped the garment inside out (because I hand-sewed it inverse). Before reversing it though, I sewed in a small patch of conductive fabric that would be pressed to the phone by my finger tip.

The fabric was VERY easy to hand sew – it’s a little stretchy but not so much that it affects the stitch at all. I tried sewing it on a home sewing machine (not industrial) but the stitches ripped through the entire fabric like I was cutting it with scissors. It was suggested that I change the size of my stitches to be longer but then the foot of the machine wouldn’t move over the fabric (kept sticking) so I had to layer tissue paper under the foot on top of the fabric so it could glide. Then, upon removing the tissue paper, the stitches ripped through the entire fabric again.

You can see the awesome stretch in the fabric when I make a fist, and though I wore it a little every day for a week, the only stitches that ripped were along the outer corner of my wrist.


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This experiment was meant to examine making wearable pockets that I could keep things in (like batteries and electronic components) using a weird vinyl fabric that I bought in two colours, and experimenting with different sewing notions.

I bought the fabric from a store on Queen St W (this store had no name; I asked the owner), and the “leather” hook-and-eye thing from Fabricland. I started by making a small rectangle by sewing a small piece of the brown vinyl and a small piece of the blue vinyl together (front-to-front) and flipping it inside out. Then I sewed on each triangular pad from the notions and sized them so it would fit my wrist.

I like this experiment because it turned out clean and simple, and I learned more about hand-sewing techniques with vinyl and I think I’m going to use the pocket technique (without sewing all the way through with the notions, obviously) in one of my future projects


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This one is still in progress; I laser-etched this cool square pattern on a piece of real leather (thanks again, Hillary!) when we took our field trip to STEAMLabs a couple weeks ago, and I talked to Lindy in the lab there about how I could turn it into a wallet. I think I’m going to use this leather for the outside of the wallet, and use the brown vinyl for the inside (because the real leather is way too thick to be used for the entire thing)

I used an industrial punch to poke holes in the leather, to practice what I’m going to need to do to sew the wallet together, but the piece was so thick that it took forever to get the remaining fabric out of the hole and it still looks pretty messy. I need to keep experimenting with this one, but hopefully I’ll have it finished for class next week – will update this post when it’s done!