Tag Intelligent textiles

developing research

What’s changed

–      My work initially leant on the idea of aiding malady’s in some way. From this point I have stretched out to include other areas by researching materials and seeing where development leads through speculative research.

–       Originally I solely focused on the glove for Raynaud’s concept, however I have now expanded with speculative research to include further materials and artistic or fashion representations of ideas/research as further pieces.

–       Research continues to include various technology and materials; both new and recently broadened to be available to the public and the archaic.

Theory had looked at the divide between art and science, how together they have shown great promise and in many cases combining practises seen as very different have aided one another. A recent talk on TED[ Michelle Borkin: Can astronomers help doctors? http://www.ted.com/talks/michelle_borkin_can_astronomers_help_doctors.html] showed how astronomy and its software have been able to first map some scans and information only previously seen as 2D/flat in medical procedures. In the field of art Eduardo Kac [http://www.ekac.org/gfpbunny.html#gfpbunnyanchor Alba the fluorescent bunny] used genetics to engineer a glow in the dark rabbit. Material technology research continues combining various areas, so examples of this in arts and science will aid the theory for textiles futures research.







[Above left image shows silver glove alongside prototype, right shows a close up of the silver glove showing the silver strands, image below shows an early hat design illustration. Click on images to enlarge.]

proposal and final project outset

The Arduino project piece, based on the idea of aiding those with Raynaud’s phenomena was the beginning of my medical textile technology research. I used this to explore in a relatively short space of time the issues behind creating a piece to work with medicine.

Some of these include; the amount of human testing you would have to do in order to say on paper that the device would help those with this condition, and until then all I can do is suggest it may help those, with, in this case colder hands as the gloves warm your hands when needed. There will be many barriers that arise after these tests such as the volunteer’s thoughts on the piece, whether they would prefer to turn the warming on and off rather than it being decided by the technology. This area is quite open to altering the project however the course of the work will be kept using planning and time lines.

Although intuitive technology seems to be the direction that technology is moving in there is still a notion lingering that its better for the persons mind if they have full control of the devise.

Although I have considered compiling further research to form a concept for another medical textile technology piece I decided in the end it would be best to continue my work and research into Raynaud’s. From this I can build up my prototype into the desired final outcome and expect a fully finished product as well start to accumulate ideas for further projects and learn more about the work to be done in getting textile technology into a market, preferably a medical market.

Feasibility study

Through research into various textiles technology I have found many working examples of heating fabric and communicating information through sensors.

I have only tested the main technology component of my concept in a textiles technology workshop. Heating thermo chromic dye to change the colour using conductive strips, I am confident this will be possible to creat the ideal outcome over the allotted period of time. A company in Germany called WarmX currently sell’s heated trousers, tops and tights, advertised for some sports and walking. Looking at their technology I feel confident in doing similar.

Throughout out the year I have tried and tested various technologies from this work, for this specific project a mixture between Max MSP and Arduino, though I understand the possibility that Max MSP will not be required for the final piece.

Arduino and Max will be used as a platform between the user and the physical technology. I wish to assemble the physical parts either from a bespoke maker such as within the Culture Lab or learn how to make such a piece, e.g., the temperature sensor.

Meanwhile I have been conversing with Raymond Oliver at Northumbria University and Northumbria University London and the speakers he brought in for talks throughout the past the past year. Much of the work is on very similar lines and even crosses over. Such as the Phillips dress, which has galvanic skin response built in, which is essentially a very similar idea as to what my previous designs and prototype encompass. There is also the scent dress by Jenny Tillotson, which is to react to mood and effect the wellbeing of the user, increasing their comfort. I will keep in contact with these people and ensure to discuss this project for further points and any assistance be it verbal or mechanical, such as knitting machines.

If my studies into the medical benefits of warming gloves and socks do not come out positive I will still be able to maintain the piece/s have well being and comfort benefits from being kept at a pleasant temperature at your extremities in cold weather. As far as testing the medical benefits go I have contacted the head of disability for Newcastle University and have been told they can send an email out to all Raynaud’s sufferers throughout the University asking for volunteer’s and to be able to send out questionnaires to these also. Additionally I have a family member who has Raynaud’s syndrome who I will likely perform preliminary tests upon. With all the work in mind to get the concept to final product stage I feel I have all the resources and enough time to get the piece to a very high standard within the final project.

Arduino 6

Confirmed tests of the prototype have been done. The threshold set at 13 degrees C as I found that a fitting threshold point for the fingers. The sensor on the glove up against some ice as it was a very warm day it took some time to get the sensor down to 13oC and below.

The prototype shows its effects with an LED response. Depending on the user or reason for wanting the glove various forms of response can be used, such as txt and vibration.

Click on images to enlarge.















The page below shows examples of various sensing gloves.

First the prototype, as photographed above.

Mitten, the soft, printed circuit version of the protoype with soft heating focused around the edge of the shape.

Gloves, fitted, again the soft, printed circuit, traffic light style LED’s show battery has power, heating is focused around the fingers. Bttery is hidden within the turn up of the glove, as seen rolled down bottom left picture.

Top right is the insole possibilities, heating feet whatever socks you wear.

Below on the right is the sock version, again soft circuit however with the feet focused designed the alerting system could either be to mobile phone or accessory such as bracelet or broach which all could be in various designs.

The following is an example of how the final design fitted glove could be used. The story board shows a lady on a walk, realised her hands are suddenly being warmed and checks the LED’s then uses the warm gloves to warm her face, feeling the full comfort of the gloves.


The relay for this piece is the information relay that gets sent around between the technology and the human.

Temperature is sensed -> out put alerts user -> user sees this and decides on action -> brain sends signal to arm and hand muscles -> muscles respond -> temperature is sensed -> out put alerts user -> user sees this and decides on action -> brain sends signal to arm and hand muscles -> muscles respond -> etc.

After some research an aquantance pointed out an msn technology report, looking in further detail I found the main site for the heated underwear company.



The site includes a section for wellness as well as specifics such as motorbikes.    The finding of this site has slowed me down as I have been reading through each section to see how they adress the many issues and concerns that come with textile technology meeting the general public.

The pieces are highly interesting however the prices don’t make them very open to the public, they are as the website shows directed at those who can afford to spend alot on a piece of clothing that requires charging. The big difference between the pieces on warmx’s catolougue and my pieces is that warmx makes it up to the person to turn the item on, my design looks at when you may not notice you are cold, having gone numb and the piece would automaticly come on. Interestingly the site also seems to cover everything but gloves but dose mention silver which is part of the fabric used.

Arduino 3


This project has taken a great deal of research; here are the main interests I came across during this process.

There has been quite a lot of news about singer-songwriter Imogen Heap and her musical gloves, first shown off on TEDGlobal 2011 in Edinburgh, 12 July, (TED video yet to be published). I found a few great articles on the show and her gloves:

Imogen Heap, BBC

Chips built into the gloves contained both accelerometers and magnetometers, which created precise data about both the position of her hands and the speed of her movements.

Similar technology is used in health care to help injured people learn to walk again. (12th July 2011).

Imogen Heap NewScientist

The gloves were developed by Tom Mitchell, a lecturer in music systems at the University of the West of England, Bristol and allow Heap to mix her music live on stage.

“The gestures lend themselves to the processes that they control,” explains Mitchell. “For example, a grasping gesture is used to sample voice and instruments, panning is achieved by pointing in the direction that the sound should be positioned, and filtering is achieved by closing the hands as if you are smothering the sound.” (11th July 2011).

This is from a site I check at least once a week, this particular interview looks at Christian Dils & Manuel Seckel, Christian studied Microsystems Technology and Manuel studied Medical Engineering, together they developed wearable, washable fashion technology.

Manuel & Christian Interview

From – http://www.freedomofcreation.com – I found a few interesting pieces when searching this site:

3D printed spring bracelet.

The most interesting is this piece about a 3D clothing exhibition.

3D printed clothing, FOC

The white 3D printed glove made me think about tubes and thermal heating, within the 3D printed chains. This reminded me of a piece in Textile Futures by Bradley Quinn, these particular pages look at a group who designed fabric specially for thermal purposes, but rather than to warm up there work was to keep the body cool in extreme temperatures.

To read about this in detail click on the pages to enlarge.








































I met Jayne Wallace when I first arrived at Culture Lab, Jayne’s work is very relevant to what I’m currently working on as I am looking into working technology into a form that looks more aesthetic, like jewellery.


Jayne’s website:


pre-easter update

Doing – I originally had quite a few ideas for my arduino project (the one most did before christmas but Im still catching up) I set up some parts to just have a look at the basic method as its been a long time since I’v used arduino, I have not decided what my project should quite be yet, but Im doing a lot of research and drawings that I think will lead me to a good plan. I did have an idea for an automatic drawing sensor you could have on during the day and be able to go to your computer at the end and see what your day of e.g, arm movements has been in lines and/or ink style. However Im not sure if thats the right thing to do at the moment.

Thinking – I have been mainly reading through the book I was recommended by Oliver at the future textiles talks in Northumbria, Textile Futures by Bradley Quinn. As since attending these I feel I have finally found the area of research I have always wanted to be in but not quite found a way. I have been going through this quite slowly taking notes so its going to take me a while to be able to finish the book but I will have the extra research Im doing in connection with every chemical process mentioned, designer and fibre. Eager as I am to start the next essay as I know how long it takes me I yet to get feedback, so I have emailed out for extra people to give feedback and looks like I should have some soon

Creative web and interactive narrative – This is the first time I have done a collaborative piece since college and I am starting to learn new lessons from this, I keep becoming concerned about what the piece will end up actually looking like as I am yet to see the dance thats the main part, yet to hear more from the costumes or have any idea of what the music will be like. I may well just be worrying too much and it will just be a piece that will have to come together on the day. Though I also feel like I have been falling behind as I was originally waiting to see the dance so I could create a animation/video piece accordingly however after 2 weeks I realised I should make something appropriate and go with what I imagine the dance to be like, so far I have designed the piece and will be making the test shoot this evening so the area is set up. I decided after the theme seemed to change a few times that the best thing to do would be to try and back up the dance’s particular message as that is to be the main focus so I will shoot 2 sets of film/animate (depending on which looks most aesthetic) one will be crowds of people walking up and down high streets and main shopping areas to show the carrying and gathering of new clothes and over layed on this will be footage of garments being thrown in a container, one transparent side so as the numbers pick up a archaeological stratification effect begins as you see the layers of different colours and shades piling up, the wasted side, so together there will almost be a ghostly feel about the clothes purchase and discarding of. Although I originally pushed for the theme of the water waste being the worst part of the fashion industry which is famous for its polluting, un ethical,  wasteful and ill health inducing imagery. The group has taken it to the traditional look of wasteful, throw away clothes. I am still imagining how the dance will be like but I see it as a struggle with throwing away clothes yet being left with nothing at the end.

I hope to have a test version ready over the next few days but may need to re edit once Im back in Newcastle next week for use of the editing rooms.

no shape without shadow 1

After some discussions, emails and posts on the creative web blog I think the group has an idea and an aim. Its still a bit loose but im sure will find its way as time goes on.

So far the main phrase is ” no shape without shadow” looking at the sustainability and ecological issues in fashion which is one of the biggest sustainability problems, mainly how much water goes into it all, the making, the dye process, washing, throwing away.. and creating new items to replace the dumped.

Fashion and technology is quite a well covered topic in Newcastle at the moment with talks and shows, catalytic clothing exhibit is a collaboration between artist/designer Professor Helen Storey, scientist Professor Tony Ryan and textile designer Trish Belford. A really fantastic collection and idea or purifying the air.


Interestingly I have been in touch with the Electron microscopy unit in Newcastle and looking at this site there is an EM imagine of the fabric they use, which was what I was originally thinking would be good for ‘no shape without shadow’.


From whats discussed so far ‘no shape without shadow’ there will be 2 performances, these will be made up of a dancer battling/struggling with clothes made from throw away materials that are through frustration becoming thrown and ripped off making the waste fabrics waste. There will be a back projection on a screen behind the dancer, as a back drop, of a video/animation which I will be putting together and with the help of Pengfei and an xbox kinect will react to the dancer speeding up his movements and change/speed up the video/ animation. There has also been talk of some more technical interactivity but for now I think it would be best to get the first part of the interaction solved. All of which will be accompanied by either live or prerecoded music written for the exhibition.

So far the group are waiting to see a clip of the dancer dancing a similar dance to what we will have on the evening as we want to work around this main part.

Im making sketches of how I imagine at the moment the piece may look like and various ideas of what the video/animation will look like. I also had a chat with Adrian and a script writer friend of mine from college Nick, though Nick mainly said its worth waiting to see the dance, but Im quite eager to make a start so I have enough time to get something good done on time along with keeping up with other modules.

One of my ideas is to have various images of moving fabric video’d or stop-framed and these will move during the dance and when the dancer speeds up the fabric will change. As I mentioned above I was thinking about using EM images, and with throw away fabric to eco and sustainable I was thinking of imaging cheap fabric, possible in part slightly torn/worn/ stretched and the most ecological and sustainable fabric, bamboo, which I should be able to get a sample of from the high street. I will go looking for this tomorrow. The EM images could be the last to be seen in the animation/video, perhaps as the dancer tears off his last layers.

Another idea for the video/animation was something a bit like ‘Koyaanisqatsi’


I was thinking of filming/stop-framing arial shots of the high street, and just outside primark, perhaps a few other angles showing cheap throw away fashion with huge in coming and out going numbers.

However these are just starting ideas I think I will get started to see how it looks. Further discussions and tests may lead me down a more certain route, be that similar to current ideas or completely different.

I wil add my sketches at some point soon.


textile futures

Ordered a book through the book shop and it was in 2 days later, and I have been attached to it since. ‘Textile Futures ;  fashion, design and technology”

by Bradley Quinn, 2011. The book has a great selection of textiles and where they’re used, great pictures too. Once this flu I have allows me to stay awake for more than a few hours at a time I will read through it thoroughly.

Intelligent textiles

From attending the first Future Ways of Living I have been really excited. For many years I have wanted to study in this area, intelligent textiles, but not quite found the door, now I am excited about intelligent textiles and the current abilities and possibilities more than ever and am thrilled that there seems to be so much going on.


Next week Helen Storey’s work is around Newcastle uni on Tuesday, there is also an opening to her work on monday, though I only found out about this earlier this week and it is sold out. Im trying to find a way to get a ticket/in, but I may have to just keep my eyes open to make sure I don’t miss any in the future.


This is the Tuesday event on campus ^

I was also told about a conference in London, however their student price is £250!! (apparently full price is £999!!) so sadly I don’t think Im going to be able to attend, perhaps next year.