Archives for category: soft circuits

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Here is the “final” documentation for our final project. I enclose final in quotations since this project will continue to grow as we explore more options for sound, materials, and installation possibilities.

video showing soft circuits code :: (in-line audio using audacity with arduino)

video showing cybernetic code :: (piezo speaker and with arduino)

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After a few snags in materials and construction, Paola offered us a fantastic solution. She suggested placing fabric around the boxed structure and focus on using the materials that we know work (i.e. the elastic), instead of forcing the materials we considered more aesthetically in line with our concept. As mentioned in a previous post, the elastic works much better in getting a dynamic range from the painted on liquid graphite; the other materials, such as spandex and jersey, ended up breaking the connection too much after a few uses.

Below are the videos documenting our first working prototype for the final piece and a bit of user testing:

Overview ::
For these prototypes, we painted the liquid graphite (no base) directly onto small piece of each substrate, then connected them to Arduino. Overall we found that the sonic success of this project is heavily dependent upon the fabric used. The woven jersey was the least responsive to the ink; it cracked under the pressure of pushing thereby losing the connection needed to sustain the connection. The spandex was very responsive; it did not crack and held the connection. The black elastic was by far the most responsive, but more out of line with our original concept. Our next step is to try silkscreening the pattern onto the fabric to see if it will hold the connections better.

Spandex ::

The properties of spandex are friendlier than the jersey. The material absorbs the paint, so cracking is not an issue at this point in the usage process. The only “faulty” aspect is the warp of the fabric where the paint is, but I think this can be exploited with a different pattern printed onto the material.

Elastic ::

This test went extremely well; the elastic absorbs the graphite thereby increasing and solidifying connections.

Woven Jersey ::

This is a first prototype for our final project in Soft Circuits. As you can see, jersey doesn’t hold the paint very well; all of the cracks prevent any type of connection. However, before the cracks occurred, this design produced a much more dynamic range of sound than a simple strip.

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Materials:
Liquid graphite
Fabric Substrate
(shown here: woven jersey, elastic band, spandex)
Paint brush
Electrical tape

Vectors show at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery


State Boundaries as Audio Waveforms


Optical Sempahore

For our final project in Soft Circuits, Liza Stark and I will create a large scale interactive, fabric-based soft circuit. One of the key motivations for us in deciding on this project was challenging pre- and mis-conceptions of soft circuits, especially in terms of their possible functioning and durability. Our first presentation is located here.

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We got some fantastic feedback and new focus after our first class presentation. The main questions and themes that arose were:

What are the assumptions we are dealing with? What does it mean to be durable? What are the terms and concepts we need to examine and define for ourselves? Moving forward, one idea mentioned is to associate each panel with a different assumption, which will allow users to push and pull it, discovering all the potential in between.

How can you exploit the cracks, literally and metaphorically – i.e. how can we use what we know doesn’t work to stretch the boundaries of possible interaction. For example, silk screened paint on fabric is not the most durable way to create a circuit because it will crack when overused, but this could be used as a switch: when the cracks come back together, they will still complete the circuit.

What types of materials will we use? And more importantly, how will they be executed within the structure? Will the materials be integrated or attached; i.e. will there be a panel of velostat that acts as the main material or will there piece pieces of it sewn onto a larger piece of spandex (or any other material). I think the former could be much more interesting for experimentation, but also much more expensive. TBD.

How will we get people to interact with our project? What are the interactions we want to see happen? Or at least how will we constrain the type of interaction to create a meaningful interaction for our audience? Cecilia rightly reminded us of how easy it is to assume people will telepathically connect with the concept and engage in the associated action (which is never the case). In doing so, she also insinuated the trap of a one off interaction, which is so easy to fall into and a terrible mire, or for loop better yet, to climb out of.

Moving forward, here are the requirements for our second round of prototypes next week:

Define interactions and interaction with materials

List of materials

Articulate how materials will integrated or attached

Assignment: Connect one of your paper or fabric switches to an Arduino digital pin and have it turn on an led when the switch is pressed. Use the Arduino Button code find in the Example menu.
push-down circuit with button & soft switch

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Push-down with LED & button:



Push-down with LED & soft switch:


Push-down with LED & soft switch using AnalogInput Code (using PMW pin)

soft switch materials:
-fabric
-conductive fabric
-velostat
-alligator clips

button switch code
sourcecode
analogInput switch code (PMW pin)
sourcecode

Assignment 1: Connect one of your paper or fabric switches to an Arduino digital pin and have it turn on an led when the switch is pressed. Use the Arduino Button code find in the Example menu.
pull-up circuit with button & switch

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Pull-up with LED & pushbutton:

Pull-up with LED & switch:



soft switch materials:
-fabric
-conductive fabric
-velostat
-alligator clips

sourcecode

textile circuit with variable resistive sensor

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Materials:
scrap materials – spandex
2 (360) LEDs
resistive thread
conductive thread
conductive fabric
regular thread
3V battery

textile circuit with stroke sensor

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materials:
conductive thread
conductive fabric
scrap fabric – spandex
2 (12000 mlm / 360) LEDs
double sided tape
resistive thread
regular thread
3V battery