Opposite Vests - Pull & Push

November 2022 - Artifacts from the two part workshop "Bodies in Wearables" at OCADU

Bodies in Wearables Workshops

The workshops were spread over two weekends. The goal of the workshops was to create an expressive wearable that incorporates body movements, with focus on either NeoPixels strips or micro servo motors. 

I explored different e-textile materials to create opposing interactions - a pull interaction & push interaction to control a 180 micro servo motor using the same code. 

Day 1 - Pull Vest

Day 2 - Push Vest

Day 1  - Pull

Goal - use new e-textile materials

I wanted to use the conductive rubber sheet from Adafruit as an input. I have never used it prior to this exploration and I wanted to explore how I could incorporate it into my practice.

Stretch to control servos

I mapped the stretch of the conductive rubber to the movement of a 180 servo. The servo has a 90 degree tilt mount that allows for easy attachments. 

Incorporating the rubber into a wearable

I wanted to continue exploring vests as a foundation since I had an available pattern that was quick to assemble with sewing.

I used the same pattern that I modified for the Haptic Vest.

For this work I modified the pattern by adding two diagonal seams that enclosed one side of the stretch rubber.  The other side holds conductive fabric sewn around a metal o-ring which creates the connection to the rubber. 

The conductive rubber was added here as a way to pull the material without it looking aesthetically out of place. 

This work is a prototype and the connections were only made using alligator clips. The power and the ground connections are lightly sewn in to act as busses for the multiple connections requiring them. 

Final result

The stretch rubber was moderately effective as a controller for the servo. Once it was attached to the vest there was risk of the rubber snapping due to the stitches from the seams.

I swapped the mount from the 90 degree tilt to the flexible mount due to it being easier to add it to the fabric. 

For next steps, I would look at adding attachments onto the servo itself to make it a more engaging output.

Day 2 - Push Vest

Goal - create the opposite interaction using the same code.

I wanted to create the opposing interaction to "Pull", so for the workshop I created the "Push Vest"

I had some conductive wool that can be used as an analog input when it is set up in a voltage divider circuit. 

I used the same code from the previous week's workshop.

First step - prototype creating "puffy" pockets in a vest for the wool to be housed.

I took the front panel of the vest and split it open to create volume with gathers.

I tested it out in turquoise canvas first to make sure I didn't need to make any adjustments.

Assembling & Wearing

I stuffed the gathered pockets with a mix of the conductive wool and poly-fill. I used alligator clips to test out the interaction since the work was still in progress. 

I added on string with metal rings to emphasis the gentle movement of servo which is activated by the "squishing" together of the conductive wool.

Final result

I really enjoyed working with the conductive wool and was satisfied that I was able to attach some element onto the servo motor. 

The pushing interaction was more effective than the stretch interaction. I believe this is because the material was not impacted by the construction like the conductive rubber was by stitching through. 

The down side to the conductive wool is the difficulty sourcing the material. There is conductive fibre which is accessible but does not have the same properties when "pushed: together like the rubber.

Final reflections

Overall it was interesting to apply the same code to two very different interactions - pull & push. Both of the interactions were expressed differently in the fabrication. Pull required an element that was more outward facing, while Push could be embedded into the material (even more discretely than how I added it in.)

I would like to continue exploring the conductive rubber and see how to best add it into projects without disrupting the effectiveness of the material. I want to further explore kinetics which was unfortunately more of a second thought in this work.

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