Interactive Textile Structures

Abstract: This thesis explores the area of smart textile and wearable computing. Smart or Interactive Textiles area generic terms for textile materials and products that in some nontrivial sense are self-active. Smart Textiles represents generation of high-tech, functional textile materials and products. An example of that is wearable computing. This thesis explores the area using two product concepts. A toy concept called Spookies and a Glove concept called Wanted. The two projects represent two types of products where wearable technology is embedded in textiles and where further progress has focused on how to integrate and link the technologies. The two projects also show different solutions concerning the integration of technology. In the Spookies concept all technology, hardware and software, is embedded in the product. The glove on the other hand is integrated with a minor part of hardware of software. The main part of technology is placed in the terminal, the mobile phone, to which the glove has wireless access.

The aim with this thesis is to find out what smart textiles will mean for future textile and computing products. The research has explored how the two technologies relate to each other and the more specific research questions have been:

In what way is it possible to transform electronics into textile structure? In what way is it possible to get feedback in textile? In what way is it possible to activate in textile?

The research approach in this project is based on combining practice based design research with a series of experiment interlinked through given product applications. In this approach the design objects plays a central role when research issues and questions should be formulated. Objects can also be used to demonstrate, test and to some extent evaluate the research result.

The research has resulted in several interactive textile structures such as: textile data buses, textile electrodes for heart rate measurements, colour change, tactile, press sensing and strain sensing textile structures.

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