Thursday, October 30, 2008

Smart tapestries

Along with my collaborators, our ideas about the use of smart textiles are beginning to find root. We are going to work on a number of tapestry-like objects which react and change. In one, the tapestry will present a kind of physiological portrait of a person, in another, the tapestry will react to being touched in a variety of ways. In a third initiative, we are going to be constructing organic-looking forms that react and change shape over time. All of these are initiatives being developed in support of kids with disabilities, to provide them with environments that are more responsive to their often limited physical abilities than are the environments we usually have around us.

Some of these ideas may also be eventually incorporated into garments. We have now obtained some workable samples of the Nitinol shape-changing wire and we are progressing on the development of some simple examples of the wire in operation. At the same time, we are developing designs for more ambitious pieces. Along with the conducting thread, the Lilypad computer board, devices such as heartbeat monitors, accelerometers, and so on, as well as LEDs and fiber optics, the projects are beginning to take shape. It is all very exciting!

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