The last few days I worked on an project at the workshop 'Designing Hybrid wearables' at Mediamatic Amsterdam, a place that organise a lot of things around technology, new media, and technology & fashion. It's located in the POST CS building on the 5th floor. The trainers where Jean-Baptiste Labrune's & Dana Gordon from France and we had some lovely assistants.
** !! During April this year there will be an master class of this workshop (higher level) with Leah Buchely herself an some other interesting persons - the pioneers of wearable computing from Europe. And I'm getting the change to assist the workshop participants as a fashion specialist because of my background at fashion design and my knowledge of fabrics/conductive fabrics and integrating those things into designs. This will be an really nice opportunity for me, and I'm looking foreward to it.
CAT BAG / CUDDLE BAG
made by Anouk Wipprecht, David Morgan (both Netherlands), Nick Lesley (New York) & Hans Gunter Lock (Estonia)
"We want to create a bag that can comfort you as a pet can do. The interaction is simple. You need to stroke the bag. The bag will then start breathing, it's heart will start beating, it will give off warmth and make soothing sounds. The thing is, you can not feel the heart, breath and heat unless you hold the bag close to your body. Perhaps, when you hit your bag it give more aggressive sound."
We wanted to make a prototype with a love material: a product that interacts with you - would give you love, that are sweet, breath, change, non-regular, Just like a pet. So you can 'bound' with your clothing. An feel good product. Doing great at stress situations, when you are alergic to animals, when you have an depression or after an break up. Something that you can can love out of when you're in need of it. That is alive, that makes a noise, that sqeeks, makes happy sounds, purr when you are stroking/petting it, let you know of it's excistence, blinks to you and give warmth and strenght.
I made an subtile and simple but aerodynamic design for the bag that follows the shape of the body. Agily and stretchable, like a animal. And used an soft cotton fleece fabric to suggest an cat-like feeling.
The electric connections that we integrated in the bag:
1. Two Lillypad Arduino vibro's for the purring effect (& programmed it on the normal Arduino first) - connected to each other by metallic thread - so it could make an connection. You can feel the vibration on your lab when rubbing the electronic pad (see #3)
2. Two blue L.A. LED's for the cat's eyes - & programmed it so it first shines soft and then getting brighter (lighting up & down) when you toutch the bag.
3. One pad made out of conductive fabric (FlecTron) For this, I made two layers of fabric. One with three pieces conductive fabric that goes out to the Lillypad and underneath the other that excists of one layer. In between I used an combination of fleece & cotton jersey with holes in it. The holes give the fabric the opportunity to connect by toutching each other when you rub against it.
4. An music connection that makes 'purring' and cat-like noises when 'petting' the bag!*
*For the tone/music part we needed another lillypad Arduino, so in the bag we used 2 Arduino's in stead of one.
Making the designs
Coding the Arduino
Computer, coding, the Arduino & threads are making the LED's work - and blink/change colour
Prototype of the bag - inside
Inside of the bag - Is used conductive thread to make connections between the censors & the systems
The design of the bag
I'm here trying to make an connection when you push, between the two layers of conductive fabric
The pad/patch design
There are holes in the fleece-bases fabric, so when you touch the conductive fabric, it will bow trough the holes and touch the other layer of conductive fabric. This touch will make the connection and the conductive thread that goes to the lillypad wil conduct the electronic wave.
Building-in the vibro sensors, and combine them to the arduino the sensors that will vibrate & purr when touching the orange pad at the front of the bag. By using conductive thread (we later used better thread - but this was to build the connection)
Sketch of the connections between arduino's, led's, vibro's, the patch and the sound (arduino inputs)
The prototype of the conductive fabric patch - all working greatly! (see movie)
Making an connection with conductive thread
The conductive thread prototype #2 using thinner zigzagged thread that conducts better.
Presentation time! (J.B on the right)
LED's & the purring effect works by touching and petting the front of the bag!!
Showing the inside of the bag and the mechanics.
I had three wonderfull days with our team, it was lovely. Had great laughs, learned a lot of the project and we are all very happy with the result! We finished it just in time! Putting the last LED in one minute before the presentation. PROUD OF US!!
I'm looking foreward to April, when the masterclass of this workshop is comming where I will be assisting the participants of the workshop for a week by helping them with the designs, the materials and fabrics, and the building of an wearable. It will be another level (level up!) and much expensiver for those people (around 650 euro's for 4 days) but with great support & the best trainers of the world! I'm happy that I can take place of the team as the fashion design expert :)
After this workshop we presented it @ the Beauty Parlour 06 at Mediamatic (Club 11 Post CS building) with Mark "pighed" Meadows, who told interesting information about "Avatars & Identity crossings" - Avatars are fast becoming the main vehicle through which we navigate an ever more complex online landscape - about the creativity of some people that are using ' second life' as their second world to get away from the reality. Of using it physically, as an psychological prosthetic, to make them feel better about them self. Using it as a way to project their other identity, that they don't want to show in the 'real world', or making it an lengthening of the identity that they use in the real world. His Book: I, Avatar
J.B introduced me with the "cat bag" and it was a little bit scary because I didn't know that I had to do a (english) speach about our project to a deepening full of people, but it all went very well!! :)
On the site of By-Wire.net *klik*
Vergeten te vertellen, de BLEND kwam gisteren even kijken en ons project "CATBAG",
komt in het volgende magazine met foto's en verslaggeving van de workshop!!
+ filmpjes van de werking van de electronica in de tas upload ik later deze dag!!