Magic Lining at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid: week 3,4

May 28, 2018

The Magic Lining residency on altering people's perception with e-textiles, takes Kristi between Madrid and Tallin. Now it is time for the work at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid again. From 17.05 until 28.05 Ana and Kristi have been exploring the ideas around sensations, movement, vibration and textile materials.

Once the prototype was connected and set up in its new setting in Madrid, the team focused on getting all the vibration motors stable working to get into the movement patterns. First we created couple of patterns that allowed us to check all the motors individually and in groups. Then we started to explore with patterns moving in different strengths, speeds and directions.

For creating the patterns, one of our collaborators developed a "pattern generator" - a piece of software that allows us to set the sequence and duration of vibration of each motor one by one, and generates the code for Arduino. This allowed us to freely experiment many patterns and intensities on our own bodies.

After trying the various patterns and analysing the results from the previously conducted user tests, we identified some more interesting directions for our project. We decided to focus on simulating the touch of three very different materials. We decided to work on getting vibration patterns and surfaces as close as possible to cloud, water and concrete. We brainstormed to characterise the three with keywords.

In parallel we focused on finding the "right" surfaces for the vibration patterns having the keywords and desired sensations in mind. We touched many textile and other materials with and without the vibration movements running with them, and chose two that for us created the most extreme sensations related to the materials we wanted to convey to the user.

As we would like the user to be able to experience three different vibration patterns with on surface material/ prototype, we decided to add three soft buttons.

After having the prototype reliably functioning, we started to experiment with adding sound and movement for the vibration pattern. Drawing from the Magic shoes project, we paired the patterns with suitable sound files, which could be triggered by the hand movement during touching the different surfaces. We looked at whether sound enhances the experience of touch, in relation to the different vibration patterns and fabrics.

Before deciding on the final cut and looks of the garment with Magic Lining, we will present the prototype in couple of public events: Vertigo at STARTS Residencies Day at the Centre Georges Pompidou and at the 5th International Conference on Movement and Computing (MOCO). We would like to take the opportunity and ask the visitors to give feedback to the prototypes. For that we prepared a one-page questionnaire, that we will use in our user studies. With the information gathered at these events we will be able to take more informed decisions about the final piece.

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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.