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 SoftLab is a space dedicated to the research and development of artistic projects using soft-circuits and wearable technology in the Center for Digital Arts & Experimental Media (DxArts) at the University of Washington, in Seattle.


DXARTS 490B: E-textiles & Wearables for Art & Design - Autumn 2017

DXARTS 490B: E-textiles & Wearables for Art & Design - Autumn 2017

490B is a studio class offered at DXARTS, on experimenting with electronic textiles, soft-circuits and wearable technology. It provides hands-on prototyping for physical computing projects that explore the body as an interface of control for interactive environments. The students engage with smart materials, hand-crafted electronics and creative programming with Arduino to design their own interactive wearables. E-textiles and wearable computing can be used in multimedia performance projects, interface or game design, medical monitoring systems, and also as educational tools for people of all ages.

On December 2017, the students presented their final projects:

 Gabby Bilka: "Dancer-Computer-Interface"  This project combines dance and wearables to create a performance piece centered around contact improvisation. By sewing in vibration motors & LEDs to a typical dance “outfit/costume” and the dancer engages in a contact improv between themselves and the computer.

Gabby Bilka: "Dancer-Computer-Interface"

This project combines dance and wearables to create a performance piece centered around contact improvisation. By sewing in vibration motors & LEDs to a typical dance “outfit/costume” and the dancer engages in a contact improv between themselves and the computer.

 The vibration motors are controlled through a computer (Bluetooth Lilypads to a Processing interface or merely Arduino code) and trigger the dancer to move by providing that physical touch that characterizes contact improv. A single vibration motor buzzes at a time and the LED associated with it lights up as well to signify the contact at that physical point for the viewer.

The vibration motors are controlled through a computer (Bluetooth Lilypads to a Processing interface or merely Arduino code) and trigger the dancer to move by providing that physical touch that characterizes contact improv. A single vibration motor buzzes at a time and the LED associated with it lights up as well to signify the contact at that physical point for the viewer.

 Chanhee Choi: "Loop Pa Pow Dress"  A wearable video-game controller bridging the physical with the digital realm.

Chanhee Choi: "Loop Pa Pow Dress"

A wearable video-game controller bridging the physical with the digital realm.

 Stevie Koepp: "Farmers + Designers"  Farmers are the original hackers and tinkerers. Innovation in farming and production may be informed by technology’s end-users to better meet the needs of communities and cities.

Stevie Koepp: "Farmers + Designers"

Farmers are the original hackers and tinkerers. Innovation in farming and production may be informed by technology’s end-users to better meet the needs of communities and cities.

 This wearable overall for farmers is intended to light up using a humidity sensor, when the farmer gets in contact with the wet soil.

This wearable overall for farmers is intended to light up using a humidity sensor, when the farmer gets in contact with the wet soil.

 Gabrielle Benabdallah: "The Attention Tapestry: A Haptic Writing Device"  text |tekst| noun  ORIGIN late Middle English: from Old Northern French  texte , from Latin  textus ‘tissue, literary style’  (in medieval Latin, ‘ Gospel ’), from text- ‘ woven ,’ from the verb  texere.   “Like other artificial creations and indeed more than any other, writing is utterly invaluable and indeed essential for the realization of fuller, interior, human potentials. Technologies are not mere exterior aids but also interior transformations of consciousness, and never more than when they affect the word.”  (Ibid.)

Gabrielle Benabdallah: "The Attention Tapestry: A Haptic Writing Device"

text |tekst| noun

ORIGIN late Middle English: from Old Northern French texte, from Latin textus ‘tissue, literary style’ (in medieval Latin, ‘Gospel’), from text- ‘woven,’ from the verb texere.

“Like other artificial creations and indeed more than any other, writing is utterly invaluable and indeed essential for the realization of fuller, interior, human potentials. Technologies are not mere exterior aids but also interior transformations of consciousness, and never more than when they affect the word.” (Ibid.)

 Alexis Marion Neumann: "Fantasmagorical Breathing Hat"

Alexis Marion Neumann: "Fantasmagorical Breathing Hat"

 The pompom has an embedded sound sensor with a very sensitively calibrated electret mic.

The pompom has an embedded sound sensor with a very sensitively calibrated electret mic.

 Annuska Zolyomi: "Design to Support Emotional Regulation for Children with Emotional Disabilities - Flower Breathing"  This project is proposing to make an eTextile that helps a child with emotional disability learn how to breath deeply. This is a breathing technique taught by educators and wellness experts. There is a common metaphor to “Smell the flower, blow on the soup.” and this project is the translation of that idea, an interactive flower that responds to breath.

Annuska Zolyomi: "Design to Support Emotional Regulation for Children with Emotional Disabilities - Flower Breathing"

This project is proposing to make an eTextile that helps a child with emotional disability learn how to breath deeply. This is a breathing technique taught by educators and wellness experts. There is a common metaphor to “Smell the flower, blow on the soup.” and this project is the translation of that idea, an interactive flower that responds to breath.

 Andrew Gangnes: "Glove Prototype"  A glove used as an instrument to play sounds from Ableton and record them simultaneously. It has an embedded handmade pressure sensor on a finger tip that records information when you tap it on a surface (reverse engineering a beat pad).

Andrew Gangnes: "Glove Prototype"

A glove used as an instrument to play sounds from Ableton and record them simultaneously. It has an embedded handmade pressure sensor on a finger tip that records information when you tap it on a surface (reverse engineering a beat pad).

 Kenjiro Goodson: "The SpySock"  The SpySock is a wearable technology that allows morse communication with an external computer. For the initial plan of the SpySock, the main components needed for are a Arduino Lilypad, a battery, a vibration motor disc, a soft pressure sensor, a bluetooth module, and a sock. By pressing down on the pressure sensor in the big toe of the sock, the arduino sends a bluetooth signal to a computer running a Processing program. The signals can then be interpreted and displayed into a readable message using morse code. Additionally, by having a user type a message on the computer, a signal is encoded and sent back to the sock where the vibration motor disc will alert the wearer of the message.

Kenjiro Goodson: "The SpySock"

The SpySock is a wearable technology that allows morse communication with an external computer. For the initial plan of the SpySock, the main components needed for are a Arduino Lilypad, a battery, a vibration motor disc, a soft pressure sensor, a bluetooth module, and a sock. By pressing down on the pressure sensor in the big toe of the sock, the arduino sends a bluetooth signal to a computer running a Processing program. The signals can then be interpreted and displayed into a readable message using morse code. Additionally, by having a user type a message on the computer, a signal is encoded and sent back to the sock where the vibration motor disc will alert the wearer of the message.

Fractal Antennae - an ongoing research project by Afroditi Psarra

Fractal Antennae - an ongoing research project by Afroditi Psarra

Maggie Orth - From Electronic Textiles to Technological Minimalism: On The Implications of Pervasive Computing in the Age of Environmental Crisis

Maggie Orth - From Electronic Textiles to Technological Minimalism: On The Implications of Pervasive Computing in the Age of Environmental Crisis