Michelle Vossen

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Liza Stark

This second class on the topic of wearables and e-textiles will provide a more advanced coverage on soft sensors and actuators and programming interactions.


The slides can be found here. Use the slides as a repository, there’s a lot of practical information.

Why we wear

  • expression
  • communication
  • protection

Considerations for electronics in fashion

  • application
  • durability
  • wearability
  • washability
  • power
  • circuit layout



  • LEDs

    Connect LED to Arduino with a 220 Ohm resistor (in parallel only 3 LEDs max. with one resistor)

  • Neopixels

    LED strip, address LEDs individually on a microcontroller (you need a microcontroller, cannot use without; download neopixel library for Arduino). Available as strips/rings/matrices/sewable/regular

  • Fiber optics

    Light shines in one end and emerges at the other end, quality of fiber determines brightness. Side emitting fibers are also available. Connections are a bit tricky, see slides for documentation; don’t let the light escape at the connection

  • Thermochromic ink

    Ink/pigment that reacts to heat (becomes colorless once a certain temperature is reached). Pigments can be mixed with different substrates. To heat the circuit we need a secondary power source because Arduino cannot provide enough. For this we use transistors (drain, source, gate). Keep heating up and cooling down times in mind


  • Speakers

    Electromagnets: create a fabric speaker. See slides for tutorial on how to make one. You can also make an amp, DFPlayer Mini plays audio files from SD card


  • Shape memory alloys (SMAs)

    Flexinol (very difficult to make it work apparently). SMAs when heated go to a specific shape (either trained or untrained; untrained shrinks and trained goes into a shape determined by a heating process). Works best with lightweight materials. Liza uses .008 materials thickness (in inches). Use for folding/curling/smocking. Cannot be soldered directly, use crimp beads are very useful. Use the same heat controlling circuit as the thermochromic inks

  • Flip dots

    Magnetic ball/bead with one or two coils