electronics & crafting soft sensors

Day Four Begins

Hacking machines and making open source machines for knitting, electronics, These things were particularly interesting to me:

Var & Mar - including circular knitic

Nintendo Knitting Machine

Fabienne Serriere

I’ve been so obsessed with dyeing that I haven’t done anything else for a while, but stay tuned…

Soft Sensors

We’ve been working on soft sensors at Fab Lab Wgtn for a while now. In particular, a workshop that Hannah and Craig developed together for a conference. Craig then ran it at Fab 12, in Shenzhen (spending quite a bit of time at Huaqiangbei, the electronics market, acquiring the materials for it). Since then we’ve been tweaking it; changing the instruction booklets, making new samples, rethinking the interaction with the testing board he designed for it and created the … resist-O-meter.

resist-O-meter

For using when you’ve made your soft sensor - you see a pompom attached above, with a mix of conductive yarn & wool - you attach the alligator clips to a couple of pieces of the conductive yarn (the grey/silver). If you’ve made it correctly, squeezing the pompom will make more lights on the resist-O-meter light up, showing a change in resistance.

We ran the newest version of the workshop a couple of weeks before the Fab13 conference, and here are some photos from that session.

GroupGroup 1Group 2

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And if you want to see more about what is happening with the next stage, please check the Winterns blog.

Prior to running this session, I decided to apply the soft sensors in a fun way. I think the first time I saw someone wearing a crocheted beard was at Fab 10 in Barcelona. Correct me if I’m wrong, Anastasia… Anyway, apparently, it’s appealing to all ages & genders.

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Apart from being very warming in winter, they give a certain gravitas to any occasion. Adding soft sensors to a beard was a natural extension. Here are some photos of what I did.

BeardBeardBeard

You will see some little LEDs which have resistors included, which I’ve connected in parallel using conductive thread. These are connected to the ripstop and to the battery. The battery is contained in its own little crocheted bag with a black thread coming off the negative side so you easily remember which way to put the battery in. The ‘switch’ is a stroke sensor, made of loops of conductive thread, which, when you stroke them, complete the circuit to light the LEDS.