Magic Lining at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid: week 1

Jan 2, 2018

After the WUD Tallinn conference and Magic! workshop, initial project meeting at Textile Futures Lab, and the team's first Skype meetings, Ana and Kristi could finally start working together with the materials at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Departing from the "Enclothed cognition" concept the team brainstormed about the first prototype that would allow them to place small vibrating motors in the inner part of a sleeve made of "vibrating" fabric. These motors would connect to an Arduino and allow it to stimulate the person’s skin with different patterns. The team discussed about the possible mappings between vibrating patterns and sensations: which pattern could convey the sensation of being stronger, or flexible, or build on self-esteem? How would the sensations vary when these patterns are integrated in different fabrics? For instance, can a smooth fabric make you feel a soft embrace? Can a sharp/harsh surface trigger some sensations (e.g. aggressive) that can turn into making one feel powerful or strong? In addition the team discussed to use shape-changing materials to stimulate users.

The Magic Lining team got inspired by the work using a material derived from fermented soya beans (Japanese “nato”) from MIT Media Lab:

Video: CHI16 VS: Second Skin: Biological Garment Powered by and Adapting to Body in Motion

The team kicked off their collaboration in Madrid by looking at the first prototype Kristi had prepared thinking about this project already in the summer at E-textiles summer camp. The sleeve picks up a colour from the environment and displays it via its Neopixel module.

Photos: Illustrating how the light is being picked up from the objects near by and displayed on the sleeve.

Magic Lining is about attracting the attention of the wearer from the outer side of their clothing towards the inside and the feelings it could create. Therefore, a natural direction to explore is vibration close to the body. Kristi had started to develop the prototype in Tallinn. Now in Madrid, it was the time to improve and translate it onto a textile.

Photos: The process of creating the first 1-line prototype to test the basic vibration movement on different parts of the body.

The initial vibration prototype allowed the Magic Lining team to explore the basic idea and sensations the vibrating movement could create. As they would like to expand on that, and create a more complex vibration patterns and areas, they will continue by developing a sleeve of vibrations that is able to run the vibration movements on larger areas and with that create a movement feeling around the (for example:) arm. They would like to look into movements that are able to move: up, down, outwards, inwards on the body.

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VERTIGO is funded under the H2020 European STARTS initiative, innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS. STARTS promotes the arts as catalysts for efficient conversion of science and technology knowledge into products, services, and processes.