In our physical touch-interface version of Elizabeth Peabody’s work, we are going to use a controller separate from the quilt for the purpose of selecting a color/country to begin. We do not yet know what exact form the color picker controller will take. One idea we have is a circular object divided into 6 sections each with its own color that corresponds to a country. This design is inspired by Hasbro’s Simon game. While the quilt will certainly be made of conductive fabric and/or thread, we have not yet considered if the color picker is to be soft tech as well.
An advantage of using e-textiles for the color picker is consistency of material and style across the project. It might be strange to have a soft, flexible quilt being controlled by a bulky plastic object with buttons. Incorporating soft tech throughout all components of the physical project will help users understand how the color picker works together with the quilt. Not that it’s a hard thing to understand, it’s just that the association would feel more normal with a consistent style.
A disadvantage of using e-textiles for the color picker is that choosing a color on a piece of fabric might not have satisfying user feedback. One can imagine trying to press on a color and the fabric just folds in your hand. The button-pressing experience might be less satisfactory.
This video shows an example of a soft-tech touch pad similar to what we might consider for the color picker:
They use conductive fabric touch sensors with Arduino’s CapacitiveSensor library.