Stitch Synth is an e-textile, modular, analog synthesizer. Developed between January and March 2019 as my graduation project for Fabricademy, a new textile and technology academy.
Stitch Synth consists of 10 modules, made out of textiles, conductive textiles, and electronic components, that snap together to generate simple electronic sounds. With soft, expressive interfaces that allow the user to control the sound through touch, Stitch Synth explores how we interact with electronics, and how the musical instruments of the future might look.
All circuitry in Stitch Synth is exposed and incorporated into the design, making the electronics visible rather than hiding it in a black box. Motivated in part by the optimistic and geometric design of the ‘Space Age’, and by a desire to make electronics more accessible.
More detailed documentation is available here. Made at TextileLab Amsterdam using laser cutting, machine embroidery, digital design, soldering and hand sewing / weaving.
A project for Fabricademy exploring electronic interfaces worn on the skin. Inspired by “Scanners Live in Vain”, a short story by Cordwainer Smith about a group of people who have their senses of touch, smell and hearing disconnected so that they can travel in space, I created a wearable touch sensor.
Fabric in the shape of Lissajous curves is painted with conductive paint on one side, and with latex on the other (enabling it to stick to the skin). An Adafruit Gemma microcontroller is connected to both the fabric sensor and to two addressable LEDs, and loaded with an Arduino sketch that toggles the LEDs on and off when the fabric sensor is touched.
Made at TextileLab Amsterdam, using laser cutting, vinyl cutting, hand painting, soldering, parametric design with Grasshopper / Rhino, and Arduino programming. Full documentation here.
In the future I hope to expand this project to map touch between multiple people, or detect different kinds of touch.
A project for Fabricademy on the topic of “Open source circular fashion”, I designed leaf-inspired, interlocking fabric modules, and assembled several hundred of them into a simple top.
Modular design is fascinating, as it's possible to make garments that can be adjusted in size, thickness, length, etc - multiple possibilities for multiple uses. Modules can also be cut out of scrap fabric, re-purposing waste from other projects.
Modular Leaf Armour is also a protective garment, as the majority of the modules are made from a UV shielding fabric. The module pattern is also designed to tessellate (when laid out next to each other, they fit together like a jigsaw). This minimises the amount of waste material / fabric scraps generated from making this garment.
This project was made at TextileLab Amsterdam and used digital design (in Adobe Illustrator), laser cutting, and 3+ days of assembling the modules by hand. Full documentation is here.
Explorations in e-textile sensors, actuators and circuit boards for Fabricademy, including:
- A soft breakout board for ATtiny microcontroller
- Magnetic flip-dots
- Colour-changing patterns
- A corset-inspired stretch sensor
- A pleated switch
A project on ‘textile as scaffold’ for Fabricademy. I created several versions of the Miura-Ori, an origami pattern that’s mathematically interesting as it has a negative Poisson ratio.
I made three versions:
- Bioplastic on lycra
- Concrete paint on lycra
- Acrylic on lycra
Full documentation here.
Playable Solar System is an interactive data sonification / visualisation project, using Arduino, conductive textiles and conductive paint.
Standard maps of our solar system don’t really communicate the vast distance between the planets (particularly the outer planets) , and how much of space is…just empty space. The maps we normally see show the Sun and planets as being roughly the same size, equally spaced apart from each other. But in reality, the Sun is much much bigger than any of the planets, and the outer planets are spaced much further apart than the inner planets.
Playable Solar System is a textile map of the solar system that plays a musical scale when each planet is touched. The notes of the scale were mapped to the distance between the planets (i.e. the Sun was the lowest note on the scale, and Neptune the highest), communicating the distance between the planets through sound. LEDs placed behind each planet also lit up when the planet was touched, with the colour of the LED also mapped to the planet’s distance from the Sun (the Sun being red, and Neptune violet).
At the heart of this project was a Bare Conductive Touch Board - an Arduino board with on-board capacitive touch and midi chips. Conductive paint, conductive thread, wire, fabric, and a recycled picture frame were also used to make this project.
Playable Solar System was made for Irish music festival Electric Picnic in 2015. It also made an appearance at Science Gallery Dublin late event 'Dark Secrets', as well as in MAKESHOP on Dublin Culture Night.
Fia Kavanagh and I created a version of the classic game Pong where the ball is a pineapple, and players touch pineapples to control the paddles. Fresh pineapples were connected to a Makey Makey, which was sending data to a Processing sketch visualising the game on a screen (with thanks to Robby Collins for giving us a sketch which we adapted).
Pineapple Pong was shown at Science Gallery event 'Grand Stretch', as well as Beatyard Festival and the National Ploughing Championships in 2016.