Example projects, supportive materials, and square-circuit interaction

Two example projects

Finding example projects that might influence our design and help us make technical decisions was quite difficult. However, here are two projects that might be useful to refer to:

  1. LED Matrix Quilt – using conductive thread, 64 individually-sewn LEDs, resistors at the end of each row, snaps for Arduino LilyPad attachment, inner fabric piece for hardware, outer fabric for aesthetics/design. Some key takeaways:
    1. If you don’t know anything about fabric and technology, you might think that the fabric itself actually has to be translucent. This isn’t the case, LEDs can shine through opaque fabric! So buy a bunch of swatches and test.
    2. Individually sewn LEDs is a viable option for a final version, likely lends more flexibility.
  2. Child’s Interactive Quilt – multiple circuits with a combinations of LilyPads, LEDs, conductive thread, backing fabric. Some key takeaways:
    1. Conductive fabric can be used as a pressure sensor (as Erica mentioned in the previous post). This project layered the fabric on a small piece of foam before attaching it to the quilt.
    2. Multiple circuits can exist on the same quilt (obvious, but useful to note).


Supportive materials – an embroidery hoop and a quilting frame

From these example projects, and discussions with knowledgeable friends, some supportive materials for the making might be helpful. The LED Matrix Quilt used an embroidery hoop to help with the sewing of the individual LEDs. If we decide to sew individual LEDs, or work with small squares of fabric individually to start, then this would be a good purchase. For a bigger piece of work, a quilting loom (like a drafting table without a top) might be helpful.


Circuit Design

What follows discusses what an ideal design would be, not necessarily what we are first going to prototype. Each square – one of nine squares representing the nine events in a year – should have two circuits. The first should be an on/off switch for the LED, and the second should change the color that represents the country. This could also potentially be one circuit, coded as one bigger cycle.

Next steps: sketching out the circuit design, taking into account constraints of conductive fabric and thread.