February 22nd, 2008


The Catbag aka 'petting bag'

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.

Concept page

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.

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!!