making making

April 11, 2009




April 11, 2009

To make this garment transformation as dramatic as possible, I chose many distinctive colours but still based on Junihitoe colour theory.


Although Junihitoe means 12 layer-robes, they were usually 6 layers. The colours vary according to the season but these colours, red, purple, pink, yellow, gray-blue, green are commonly worn throughout the year.


April 11, 2009

This was the initial sketch of the garment. I saw the French designer Pierre Cardin’s dress that consisted of many colourful squares, and it reminded me of Junihitoe, so I borrowed his style at first. but the farm didn’t work for the circuit so I changed it to the second one below.


Sorry for the messy sketch but you will see how it is going to look soon.


I thought about other shapes than just squares but considering the electric components and my sawing skill, I decided to maintain the simple square forms. and it gives the closest reference to the original shape of kimono.


April 11, 2009

The electro magnet was not working for the mechanism, so Suzi suggested me to use Nitinol. Nitinol is is a shape memory wire that when it is deformed while cool, returns to its original shape when warmed up to 40degrees. To set the original shape, it needs to be heated up to 500degrees. Looking at XS Lab’s shape-changing garments, I am sure I can integrate that into my garment mechanism. One of the problems is that my solar panels cannot supply enough energy to make it move. But I am (again) sure that there is a way to supply enough power with solar panels.

this is a fun way for using Nitinol. You can see how it responds to heat.

Here is the circuit that Bobbi suggested for the mechanism. It is called Schmitt circuit.


The circuit has to have a mechanism, which can store up the solar charge and release all at once to heat up Nitinol wire. Nitinol has to be connected to resistance wire, which gets heated up quickly by electro currency. We have tried a different circuit but it did not work, so hopefully this will work! and here is the charge controller circuit that fits in the middle part of the diagram above.


The embroidering machine master Katherine Soucie suggested me to take a look at “hook and eye tape,” which is in the picture below. and it is a perfect model for the Nitinol hook. You can buy this at Dressew on Hastings.

hook1hook2 when it is heated, releases the hooks come undone


Flexible Solar Panels

April 11, 2009


These are the 4.5×1 inch, 3-4V flexible solar panels. 5.50dollars each from Silicon Solar company in the states.

Huge thanks to Angus for ordering them with me!

I have checked how much power it can supply when it was cloudy, and it generated about 3.5V. It is so flexible and thin, and it is hard to believe that it can generate that much po0wer. There is a thin plastic cover on the panels, so to make a circuit connection, you have to peel the cover at the edges of the panel. These will be the sensor/power supply for the shedding garment.

Going with the initial idea

April 11, 2009

I decided to stick with my initial idea for the final project. I learned from Suzi that even if I cannot realize the work it will be a good practice to make a documentation that can lead to future development. Plus, the solar panels have arrived!

experimentation with Arduino Lilypad

April 3, 2009

Yahy! Here is our (Pam+me) pulsing felt-heart. Except the arduino pad, it is a very simple mechanism but when it works, I always get the excitement rush. The conductive threads makes it flexible and light but it is tricky to keep each strands separate. The threads need to be separated because they do not have the plastic coating. Perhaps there will be threads that have thin coat of nonconductive fiber soon.


changing the idea

March 21, 2009


With so much  help from Bobbi, I have been trying to figure out the circuitry for this magnet mechanism for the shedding garment for 2 weeks but it is not working out. The circuitry was getting complex and bulky and was not negotiating with fabrics very well.  I have realized that I was forcing the materials to do beyond their capability rather than looking at their characteristics. Perhaps I was thinking too hard to connect literal part of technology and textile together. There are only three weeks left but I am thinking to re-construct my idea…focusing more on the body and textile. I would still like to develop my idea from multiple layers.

1st basic machanism for the project

March 11, 2009

For my shedding wear project, I am trying to make a mechanism that consists of two parts and they have to pull and repel each other, so magnets seems to be the suited medium for that. I will use electricity to control the pull and repel changes in the magnetic field. Here is a electromagnet I made.basicmagnet

There is an electric current going through the wire around the metal screw. This creates the magnetic field. The more rounds of wire, the stronger the magnetic field gets. With this one, it did not have enough rounds or power supply that it wasn’t strong enough to pick up a clip…

Maybe this is too specific thing to share with everyone, I will put up a over all sketch of my project next.

an idea for my project

March 2, 2009

When I was pondering about wearables/clothing and “cultural identity,” which Sabine Seymour also discussed in the live chat, I thought of kimono. Kimono is a traditional Japanese dress, which was worn at all times before western clothes came into Japan. Now kimono is considered as a wear more for ceremonial or formal situations but its functionality is re-realized and some people have started to bring them back to everyday use once again. I also like the simplicity of its shape. …….. and I thought of Junihitoe, which is another type of kimono that has twelve different colours of rayered robes.  Junihitoe was worn by court ladies in the 1600s. Sometimes it weighed more than 20 kilograms and kept court ladies inside the house. It revealed the high status  and also put limit on activities of the wearer.


At the same time, I wanted to use solar energy as a power supplier for the project, so I was thinking about the sun/warmth/light and junihitoe together……then I came up with an idea of a shedding clothing under the sun light. Solar panels will be the sensors of light and that gets transmitted to other components that allow pieces of clothing to drop on the ground. but don’t worry i will not make it shed completely that the wearer gets naked. I need to develop the idea further for how to make this possible and also what it means to make such thing.