Call to arms: malleable interface creation!


My name is Luiz Gustavo, and I'm a brazilian design student. First of all, this is my very first post at this space, and I'm very very open to hear whatever critics or opinion of everyone. My hardware & electronics knowledge is very limited, so I'm opening the whole creation of the following project to whoever is interested in co-creating it with me.

As part of my ongoing graduation project, I want to create a malleable interface using textiles. The idea is pretty simple. I want to create an open-source hybrid object, a digital raw data generator, consisted of a highly malleable interface that is capable of being folded, twisted and adjusted to the will of its user: an interface as simple and soft as a piece of silk fabric.

The data generated must give the current state (deformation and positioning) of the malleable object to a digital output in realtime. The malleable object has to be modular, as well as a little stretchable. I really want to create something that can be remounted, modified, and used in different kind of contexts - not so only as my main purpose at the creation of an experimental art installation I've been working on as my graduation project.

At this website I've posted a larger description of my intentions with this interface, as well as a first draft of it:


I'm not quite sure how's that going to be done, what have already been done in this area, what kinds of open hardware I can use, sensors and so on. I'm really starting this research right now, but it would help a lot to at least hear some possibilities from anyone. I'm very very open to hear any kind of contribution!

Thanks! [=

Best regards,

Luiz Gustavo.

Picture of Call to arms: malleable interface creation!
Kiteman5 years ago
Have a look at this project for a starting point.
lgguts (author)  Kiteman5 years ago
Hi Kiteman!

This is truly inspiring! I really jumped when I saw this. It is quite what I'm looking for. I'm just thinking that using tilt sensors is a good strategy, however, let's say I want to squeeze my interface-fabric... would they be able to detect their movement?

Perhaps I'm a little idealistic of how these sensors should work, but imagining them as "3d position sensors" is really the only thing I can image to be able to gather such "fluidness" of data.

Anyway, i would appreciate if you could bring your impression about this!

Thanks A LOT for your help!
PKM5 years ago
I'd probably approach this by detecting stretching on both sides of the fabric. If the top and bottom are both stretched, the fabric is being stretched- if one side is being stretched and the other compressed, it's more likely being rolled or curved.

Detecting stretching isn't too difficult- certain materials, like the conductive foam that sensitive electronics are packed in, change their resistance in response to being stretched. Thin strips of this could act as stretch sensors, and tell you roughly what is being done to the fabric. I'm not sure how you'd make it modular, or detect compound curves like the S-shape pictures, but this could be a start.
lgguts (author)  PKM5 years ago
Thanks a lot, PKM!

This is really great! I've never heard of conductive foams. Would it be something like this? https://www.instructables.com/id/Conductive-Glue-And-Conductive-Thread-Make-an-LED/step4/Make-Conductive-Foam-and-Switches/

Your idea brought me some simple questions, please, could you help me with them? - matter of fact, my knowledge at this is nearly zero, I really could use some help covering some basics.

- Could you please tell me what other materials conductive materials do you have in mind for me to research?
- What kind of sensors would be able to detect a certain point of the grid position?
- What paths do I have for gathering the fabric's conductive "data" to a digital output? Arduino would do this?

About the modularity, I was thinking of perhaps a "conductive bridge" that could attach each piece to each other. The rest would be digital programming work to make this possible, right?

Thanks a lot, again!