Final Project – Electronic Armour

the electronic armour jacket

PROPOSAL: Create a fashion piece that incorporates the circuitry into the overall structure of the design, with a focus on embracing the electronics instead of hiding them.

DESIGN: My design uses black electrical wire to weave metal chains into fashionable ‘armour jewelry’, shoulder pads on a black blazer. The wire is an integral part of the structure, the electrical current runs through the entire piece before it completes the circuit and powers the LEDs.

the woven metal-and-wire shoulder pads

CIRCUITRY: My design uses a simple circuit composed of a battery, two LEDs and a magnetic switch. The battery and LEDs are mounted on the inside of the pads, while the magnetic switch is accessible on the side of the pad (closest to the neck.)

lit up

WHATS NEXT: Plans to take the design further include adding more LEDs, possibly in a distinct pattern, to make the shoulder pads stand out even more.

Chance Operations of the Body – beyond Cage and Cunningham


Through a link that Erin Lewis posted on this blog, I discovered the collaborative work of John Cage and Merce Cunningham. Cage was a composer and Cunningham a modern dance choreographer. These two artists created music and dance that broke away from traditional methods of composing and choreographing. Their innovation came from the I Ching, a form of divination based on chance operations. To simplify a rather complex process, they used the toss of a coin to determine what sound or body movement should come next in their compositions. What is interesting about their work is that the dancers would not hear the music that accompanied their dancing until the performance. It is this aspect of their work along with their composition methods that inspired this piece.

I wanted to use random numbers of serial data generated by the movements of a middle-eastern dancer to play sound. Although the dancers movements would initiate the sound, she would not be able to control or manipulate the sound or rhythm. I chose to work with middle-eastern dance and music because there are aspects of both that can be quite random and I thought they would fit well with this project. I also thought that using 21st century technology on a traditional dance form would contemporize it in a way that had never been done before.

I’m quite happy with the final results. I went beyond my initial proposal by using Processing as a tool for playing high quality recordings through high quality speakers rather than using speakers attached to the body of the dancer. I feel this created a more professional theatrical presentation. I used Bluetooth to form a wireless connection between the Arduino, which was attached to the dancer’s body, and the computer which was used to generate sound. This allowed the dancer to move freely unencumbered by wires. However, out of all the components required to make this project work, Bluetooth proved to be the most problematic. Some times it worked and sometimes it didn’t which played right into my concept of chance. At the end of this frustrating process, I realized that the Bluetooth device needed to be facing the computer to make its connection. Live and learn. My other major challenge was getting my head around the Processing programming language but both Erin and Kate helped with this.

The success of this project has inspired me to explore it further and I think I have found my thesis topic (finally). Denise Mireau, the dancer and owner/director of the Studio for Movement, is also happy with the project and is open to more collaborations as is Erin Lewis who has created a similar project based on visuals rather than sound.

Here is the bluetooth dance:

Here is the hard-wired dance:


I wanted to generate sound that was abstract but still referred to middle-eastern music – a deconstruction of it. To do this, I worked with the Aminor scale because it is melancholy like middle-eastern music. I also used instruments that are often used in middle-eastern music like the flute, violin and dumbek (middle-eastern drum). Using Garage Band, I created eight mp3 files, seven of the files represented one note of the Aminor scale. For the eighth file, I recorded one “doom” from my dumbek. These eight files were loaded into my processing sketch as a separate data file. Although the music comes from the random movements of the dancer, I did program silence when the dancer’s arms are relaxed at her side. In this way, the dance can have a beginning and an end.

Here’s my processing code:

import cc.arduino.*;
import processing.serial.*;
import ddf.minim.*;

AudioPlayer player;
Minim minim;
Arduino arduino;

int sensorPinX = 0;
int sensorPinY = 1;
int sensorPinZ = 2;
int xvalue;
int yvalue;
int zvalue;

String serialString;

void setup() {

arduino = new Arduino(this, Arduino.list()[2], 115200);
minim = new Minim(this);


void draw() {

xvalue = arduino.analogRead(sensorPinX);
yvalue = arduino.analogRead(sensorPinY);
zvalue = arduino.analogRead(sensorPinZ);

if (xvalue >=450 && xvalue <= 455){
player = minim.loadFile(“A of Aminor.mp3”, 2048); // play the file;
else if(xvalue >=465 && xvalue <= 470){
player = minim.loadFile(“C of Aminor.mp3”, 2048); // play the file;
else if (xvalue >=581 && xvalue <= 585){
player = minim.loadFile(“G# of Aminor.mp3”, 2048); // play the file;
else if (xvalue >=575 && xvalue <= 580){
player = minim.loadFile(“E of A minor.mp3”, 2048); // play the file;
else if (xvalue >=585 && xvalue <= 590){
player = minim.loadFile(“B of Aminor.mp3”, 2048); // play the file;
else if (xvalue >=430 && xvalue <= 435){
player = minim.loadFile(“D of Aminor.mp3”, 2048); // play the file;
else if (xvalue >=600 && xvalue <=800){
player = minim.loadFile(“Doom.mp3″, 2048); // play the file;
print(” “);
print(” “);

void stop()
// always close Minim audio classes when you are done with them



The materials used to build the costume consisted of the following:

two bra cups
Black stretch fabric
Speaker wire
Black wire
Transparent thread
Black thread
Conductive Thread
Lilypad Arduino – Simple
Lithium rechargeable Battery 3.7v
Fabric Snaps

I chose to expose the electronic components of the costume by making them part of the overall aesthetic. I did this by using the speaker wire to ornament as well connect electrical components in the costume. The speaker wire looks great and was easy to work with because the two attached insulated wires meant there fewer strands of wire to deal with and they could be easily separated if need be. To make the costume simple to access, I used snaps to connect circuit wires from the shoulder to the accelerometer located on the outer part of a glove. For the most part this works well, but occasionally the snaps come undone. This could be because the snaps live on parts of the body that are continually moving. I may need to find a connector that is more robust. Here are some images of the circuit and the schematics.

Final Project – Symbolic Wearable

Title: Pitcher


This is a piece of jewelery that is created to make a statement on water contamination and water consumption. By wearing it on my neck and making it visible to my audience, I’m tried to convey the idea that it is a need that can not be neglected.  The glow in the middle on the pitched is to dive attention to the fact that the pitcher is empty.

Parts & Materials:

I created the pitcher with plaster on top of an existing drinking glass. I thread conductive thread through the plaster which I then attached to a battery holder on one end and an LED on the other end. I also used a leather string that helped wear the pitcher on my neck. It is a very light piece and can easy be worn on ones neck.

Related Work:

I received my inspiration from Kai Chan’s methods of jewelery making and creatively using natural materials.


I find myself successful in creating this but later I want to make this concept even better. There is much possibility to just this that further requires attention.

Next Step:

Next I want to get a bit more creative with incorporating some interesting technology within this wearable.


Please view youtube video that explains it further;


Measure Skateboarding Device.


The concept is to use technology to physically reconnect with our bodies and our environments. The concept is to go skateboarding. The device tracks, measures and excels individual and communal progression in skateboarding.

Using an accelerometer located within a riser pad data would be wirelessly be transmitted to an application on a smart phone via Bluetooth. This data would be linked to the users Skateboarding social media profile where accumulated data would be sorted and displayed in the following categories; trick performed, trick speed, trick height. When the user preforms the same trick repeatedly trick percentages (consistency) and total number of tricks would be calculated.

Users with profiles could then be placed on a global ranking scale and could compete to be the best in the world.

The goal would be for this devise to be put into production and sold on a large scale to the public.

When the device is used in conjunction with a smart phone such as an iPhone, Google maps could then cluster what tricks where performed where and when. This would help with the skateboarding phenomenon of “already been dones”. Google maps would start to collect clusters of good skate spots. This would help individual skaters to find spots they have never been to furthering progression.

The system would allow individual skaters to track their progression and skills in a real-time. By allowing the skater to see/measure/track their skills/progression compared to others it pushes them to make more/bigger/more consistent tricks.

Skateboards are built to be very modular because they take a fair amount of damage and parts need to be replaced at different times. Riser pads are a piece of plastic that separates the trucks from the deck giving the complete board more height.  I have contained my electronics inside of a hard plastic riser pad that I’ve milled so there are no exposed parts. This project works because the user doesn’t have to do anything. Everything is done autonomously. All the user has to do is create a profile and go skateboarding.

Experience Prototype

i. User Buys device.

ii. User downloads App from AppStore and registers their account.

iii. User creates an account on the Skateboarding social media website and syncs App.

iv. User syncs phone with device.

v. Install Rider Pads on skateboard with four bolts.

vi. User is free to go skateboarding.

vii. When tricks are performed App syncs with online profile, and Google Maps.

viii. When board is inactive sleep mode initiates saving batteries.

ix. Data is now available online for all users to view.

Physical Prototype

In my prototype I’m using an Arduino Pro Mini, an accelerometer, Bluetooth Smurf Silver, and a Lithium polymer battery.

i. 3rd attempt at perf board circuit sucsessful. Included accelerometer, Arduino Pro Mini.

ii. BluetoothSmirf Silver (not the compatible Bluetooth Mate Silver) I had to jump the pins to make the proper connections.
iii. Lithium Polymer battery 3.7V.

iv. Completed Circuit.

v. 2 piece Riser Pads with bolts. I milled the center cores out of these so electronics could be

contained within but still provide adequate foundation for the trucks.

vi. Electronics Stashed in riser pad.

vii. Final prototype assembled.

Arduino Sketch

I have created an Arduino sketch that recognizes if a user ollies, and kickflips.
// these constants describe the pins. They won’t change:
const int groundpin = 2;             // analog input pin 2 — ground
const int powerpin = 4;              // analog input pin 4 — voltage
const int zpin = A2;                  // z-axis of the accelerometer
const int ypin = A1;                  // y-axis
const int xpin = A0;                  // x-axis (only on 3-axis models)
int sensorValue;
void setup()
// initialize the serial communications:
// Provide ground and power by using the analog inputs as normal
// digital pins.  This makes it possible to directly connect the
// breakout board to the Arduino.  If you use the normal 5V and
// GND pins on the Arduino, you can remove these lines.
void loop()
// print the sensor values:
// print a tab between values:
// delay before next reading:
Processing Sketch

Working from a tutorial I found here I was able to post to my Twitter account with a mouse click. I then combined it with code from the graph example and was able to create serial driven Tweets. The problem is that the posts go to my Twitter account anytime there is any data from the serial, which is every 100(millis). The accelerometer when at rest reads around 550 due to gravity, therefor a post goes to my Twitter account every 100(millis) instead of whenever a Trick is preformed.

I’ve added and if statement in relation to the zpin to try and control this but now Tweets have stopped all together for now. I am continuing to work this out with the help of users of the Arduino and Processing forums.


Uses Twitter4j,

For more info:

Daniel Soltis, September 2010

Edited by Michael Vaughan, April 2011.


import twitter4j.conf.*;

import twitter4j.internal.async.*;


import twitter4j.internal.logging.*;

import twitter4j.http.*;

import twitter4j.api.*;

import twitter4j.util.*;

import twitter4j.internal.http.*;

import twitter4j.*;

import processing.serial.*; //new

String msg = “Ollie”; //my tweet

//copy and paste these from your application in

String consumer_key = “cv50u99znWOAOnOEUkhDA”;

String consumer_secret = “dzVnD4nLzQd9FAUg47AyEVJKPQgY6ey6dsdOZDsj2FY”;

String oauth_token = “276648172-s7m9Z4BPDlREyGJkllFKu84lguDeWkJU4ZKm6Y9E”;

String oauth_token_secret = “zKN1i9SGNeh6PDjrEmv8BzeAYrErRac3Mjfs9XjU”;

color bgcolor = color(255);

long timer;

Serial myPort;        // The serial port

int zpin = 2;                  // z-axis of the accelerometer

int ypin = 1;                  // y-axis

int xpin = 0;

void setup() {


//new below

// List all the available serial ports


// I know that the first port in the serial list on my mac

// is always my  Arduino, so I open Serial.list()[0].

// Open whatever port is the one you’re using.

myPort = new Serial(this, Serial.list()[0], 9600);

// don’t generate a serialEvent() unless you get a newline character:


//new above


void draw() {


bgcolor = color(255);


void loop(){

if((zpin)>600) {

Twitter twitter = new TwitterFactory().getOAuthAuthorizedInstance (

consumer_key, consumer_secret,

new AccessToken( oauth_token, oauth_token_secret) );

try {

Status st = twitter.updateStatus(msg + ” ”  + second());

println(“Successfully updated the status to [” + st.getText() + “].”);

bgcolor = color(0,0,255);

timer = millis();


catch (TwitterException e) {




Grow Pockets!

For Project Proposal/ Early Process Work / Inspiration / Design Brief  click here.

Grow Pocket with Instructions

How to use the Grow Pocket:

Cut on dotted line
Water pouch contents thoroughly
Place seeds under thin layer of soil
Place yourself in a sunny area
Keep soil moist by walking in the rain

What to Grow?

Go to the garden store and find something that tickles your fancy! Is it Tomatoes? Purple Carrots? Spearmint? Flowers?

Anything can start in a Grow Pocket! If it your chosen item gets too big you can replant it in a public space, or in a pot at home. Pick something small, like mint or sprouts or herbs and you can enjoy it for weeks at a time.

Test Soil Pocket and Tools

I decided to plant some flowers in my purse!

The purse is a larger version of the Grow Pocket with a duct tape strap


The Grow Pocket is suitable for  breast pockets, purses, and jacket pockets. But it can also be worn on a belt, or on a bag, or its own strap. I tried to take soil spillage, and watering into consideration while constructing the pockets and selecting materials. The insert, or Soil Pouch has a special red line to demonstrate where to cut to assist in minimizing spilling, as well as to create handles to life the pouch in and out. The Pocket protector is waterproof, and durable, also being able to be folded up smaller, or closed with the flap.

Many Grow Pockets- No packaging required!

Mix and Match

Using the Grow Pocket with the contained Soil Pouch allows users to grow several plants in different pouches at the same time, and swap out to take different plants out for the day’s activities. You can bring your sprout pack when on the go, or you mint to have fresh tea! Or just brighten your day with your special pocket flower grown from a seed (and you’ll smell better too!)


Pouches can be easily clothes-pinned to a string hanging in a sunny spot, or placed in a window to continue to grow when not worn on the body. I imagine it next to your alarm clock, and sometimes in the shower.

Why Grow?

Many of us need to reconnect with the natural world, and remember the feeling of caring for a living thing. I want  to awaken the humbling experience of planting a seed, and watching it grow into something beautiful, and edible. Will you keep it, or will you set it free?

“… and my flower wasn’t like all those other flowers…”

And can these little seeds survive our busy schedules?

What kind of seeds do you need in your life? Soothing chamomile? Simple moss?


The Grow Pocket is made out of simple materials. The outside is a clear shower curtain (Honest Ed’s $1.99) which i chose for its fabric-like quality, and the inside is black landscape fabric (Summerhill Nursery and Floral $29.99) which is actually quite lovely, and easy to sew. However, I also played with plastic raincoats, duct-tape, organic ground cover, peat-moss pellets, organic pots, and garbage bags,tin foil,  plastic tubing, clear tape, recycled water bottles, and soil, lots of soil.

My sprouts/ test subjects are Organic Speckled Pea Shoots. Which are a delicious micro-green that can be nibbled, or added to salads. I also picked up some lovely Kalanchoes (aka. the purple flowers) to brighten the purse and welcome spring!



Working Prototypes and Concept Exploration

Duct-tape prototypes for different pocket sizes

Belt prototype using only landscaping fabric. Surprisingly holds water well, allows plants to breathe. Durable fabric.

Plastic belt pocket. Clear viewing area to view roots growing!

1st Plastic pocket protector design with Rain-catcher prototype for easy watering.

Rain catcher in action. It totally works! There is a wire in the middle that allows it to bend toward the rain.

Pouch exploration- different sizes and shapes.

Sewing Pocket Protector is very simple.

Bra with pockets for enhancing cleavage using soil and moss!

Root viewing underwear before being filled.

Root view undies strap detail

Root viewers with soil and organic cover to hold soil in. This is a messy pair o bottoms. Not the best idea.

Organic bottom concept to connect our pubic hair to the roots, and physically connect ourselves to the plants.

I started this project by researching, and measuring traditional pocket sizes, and finding unique locations on the body to plant on. I wanted to explore pockets, but I also sought out the best kind of wearable for being outside in the sun. Which is why I did a small series of sunbathing outfits such as a bikini top and bottoms. I also explored the idea of catching rain, and natural irrigation using bodily fluids, however decided to keep it simple and just focus on growing! I am really really happy with the final Grow Pocket design, and overall successful completion of my intended design brief, and political agenda. I would like to receive feedback and images of the prototypes I distributed to the class, and maybe make another version utilizing the traditional properties of plastic, such as melting or fusing, instead of sewing the layers together.

Over the summer I would really like to continue to create unique pieces that push the boundaries of  “wearable technology”. In studying this new field for the past 8 months, i feel as though I  have found an interesting area of opportunity for non-electronic applications of “technology” that would  be ideally suited for, and  worn on, the body. I’m really enjoying the exploration of natural elements to influence our clothing, and reconnect us with our primal need to interact with the natural world.

The rain-catcher was not explored as completely as I would have liked to, and I see some potential for sculptural and functional jewelry- esque pieces. Also with the rain-catcher concept came the idea of a irrigation suit for the body, and I think that I would actually like to create the garment (as more of a conceptual showpiece like Smell + by Loiseaux). I have actually purchased all the materials to do so, and have started to lay out the piping, and tubes in a similar way that i would have layed out an electronic circuit (which is actually quite amusing to me).  Thanks for an amazing semester everyone! I will leave you with a little teaser…

Irrigation "circuit" (on my man-form)

Soical Body Project:Positive Attitude

   For my social body project I was inspired by a girl who  I met at a fundraiser fashion show. I had the honour of designing a dress for  A young women who was dealing with having Multiple sclerosis.  MS is a neurological disease, whose symptom is physical disability, which makes it difficult for patients to walk. MS is the most common neurological disease among young adults, especially effecting women.   After chatting with her for a couple hours, I was so impressed by her attitude towards life in general.  She is an inspiring actress who loves  the spot light while being on stage, as well as a creative writer. She began to tell me stories about the things she did before she had  MS and lost some on the movement in her legs.  This girl around the same age as me, was dealing with a life changing experiences and walked around with the biggest smile on her face.

From this experience came the positive attitude dress.  An el wire is situated at the right hip of the colourful silk bottom of the dress.  By using a soft switch on the right side of the body, when your right hand is placed to your right hip, the el wire lights up, an organic flow shape on the left hip.  This idea illuminates the confidence that it takes to strike a pose on the run way.

pressing the soft sensor 

Final Project – Progress

Left wall

Left wall of my sculpture has an image of a graffiti wall on it. A shoe made out of clear acrylic that represents its culture is sticking on the wall. The shoe lase is EL wire that is connected with a battery box embedded on its one end.

Right Wall

The right wall holds an image of a ballerina and has a feminist piece of shoe sticking on it. The shoe lace is the same EL wire that ran through the graffiti wall’s shoe. There is a battery box embedded on one end of the wall. The batteries are for the LED that sits in between the sculpture.

A water Tank

The water tank that sits in the center of the sculpture holds very little water. It has an image of feet on it. There is an LED light underneath the image. The center of the EL wire curves on top of the image before joining the  two shoe sculptures.

These are the images of two shoes. It’s still under construction.

Left Wall Image.

Left Wall image

Center Water tank image.

final project – progress

Inspired by Loretta’s shoulder-pad suggestion, I spent part of Tuesday night ideating + picking up supplies for what is (hopefully) going to be a pair of badass chain shoulder pads with a built in battery that powers 2-3 LEDs.

latest fashion involving studded/chain/badass shoulder pads

Still working with my integrated-circuitry concept, I am going to use a braiding technique where fiber (in this case wire) is braided into metal chains. I found the following project online where she braids threads along the sides of chains to make bracelets and I wondered if the same technique could be used to braid two chains together (I’ll keep you posted on that one.)

Braided chain bracelets!

More to come!

odd accessories for obscure body parts

This is the collection No Reference by fashion designer Christophe Coppens. It’s low-tech but like our Whole Body Project deals with those often forgotten parts of our corpuses. More info can be found on Facebook and We Make Money Not Art.


Final Project Proposal: Body Circuit
Creative Statement:
Our body and our clothing are in direct relationship with  one another. This relationship interchanges at every moment that you change your clothing. This assignment will be looking at the act of taking your close on and off, and how your body adds life to clothing. To illustrate this idea a corset that will embellished by leds will be created. When the wearer has it on, the lights will glow, when the wear takes it off the lights will turn off .

From past experimentations, I have found that when incorporating electrical technology into clothing it seems to be invasive. The wire must be stitched in, which essentially changes the prosperity of the fabric. This is some cases takes away from the actually garment that is hosting the technology. For my final project, my intent is to incorporate a fully functional circuit directly into the fabric of corset shape to create a soft wearable circuit. The circuit will be woven directly into the shape of the top eliminating the use of wires and cross connections. This top will illustrate the importance of the relationship to the body and what we wear. Here is an example of a soft circuit that has been created using printing methods: The correlation between this project and the project that I will be fabricating is creating a circuit that lays flat on fabrics. I however, will be using weaving to create a circuited cloth.


The weaving process of creating cloth with Double Weave allows you to create tubular shapes directly onto on the loom. Primarily how it works is that the loom is threaded in a way that when your passing your weft through your warp, whatever is happing on the top happens on the bottom of the cloth as well. Here is a great video on double weave:  I will be creating samples of different 3 dimensional shapes that can be produced on the loom. This includes: tube a tube with a slit down the middle, and a tube with a slit down the side. Thinking about a circuit these methods of double weave will be focused on because it allows for a way to open and close the circuit.

Electrical Thread
Coin cell Batteries ( not sure how many at this time )
Cotton Warp
Reused Silk Scrap Weft.

*To make sure that this cloth is compatible with most wires a line of 6 electoral thread passes through   the warp will be made. This way the current can be applicable to incorporating EL wire.

Rough Sketches:


Figuring out the Kinks:

Battery source ( where to put it? Is there more then on power source? ) * down the back
Switch- Does it Switch on and off?   How -Snaps?

Plan Production:
March 19th– Wind warp, thread warp ( photo’s will be inserted into the final post )
March 21st – Completed double weave samples to figure out which method works the best
March 25th –  Start weaving with electoral threads
March 27th–  Finish weaving Top + start to add on Led lights
March 28th – install battery supply and closure.
April 1st-  Documentation of the Final Project.

***Post will be updated with samples as well as process work.

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