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wearables / week 04 – less etsy & less resistance


after I broke down which were the requirements of my project, I was able to start sketching some possible prototypes – but before building them I went after the bikers, to shoot them while they mounted, rode and turned left or right.

/observing bikers

I was able to document 04 people and after I shoot them, I’d talk about the project & ask them if they gave any kind of signals to say they are turning left or right. All of them answered they don’t do any kind of signalization. Ideally they would, but they all forget about doing it (that includes me as well).

Through the videos I could also observe that the arms, differently from what I thought, were pretty visible the whole time. But apart from being visible or not, one of my main aspects is flexibility and I want people to be able to choose where they are attaching the patches (arms, legs, back or backpack).


IMG_1329And then I started fabricating the prototypes. I started with the fiber optic lead that I had last week, doing a bigger version with more optic fiber. During class, Despina showed us reflective materials. I reached out to the ITP student list and a colleague had some reflective yarn that she could borrow me. I thought that there was a chance of the reflective yarn create some interesting lightning result when weaved with the optic fiber.



The result was pretty interesting, specially to see that if I know how to treat the optic fiber and if I have the proper LED + resistor it will light up very well. And as much as I was excited about this experiment, it felt very hand crafted/ too Etsy. It feels very limited to what was main purposed. This prototype is flexible and give the feeling of a fabric that is illuminated, but it doesn’t work during the day, it will be uncomfortably wet if it’s raining and th ereflective yarn didn’t make any different. A little disappointed with this experiment and trying to understand what I had forgotten on my way to this, I decided to do some new alternative options for theses gaps found in the yarn experiment.

/ form and material – latex patch

Looking around the soft lab materials, I found this latex material that was very interesting to work with. Translucid, flexible and definitely waterproof, I did this prototype just to play with shape and malleability. I haven’t tested any attaching system yet but I’l say this would be easy to “stick” to skin. So this is a patch with folded latex stripes.

++ material transparency and adaptability 

— coudln’t figure out how to attache the optic fiber on it.


/ form and shape – coil wire magnets attempt

looking for possibilities within e-embroidery and wearables, i bumped into this website full of interesting DIY resources. I got very interested in one of their tutorials, that showed some results of giving conductive wire/coil energy and therefore creating an eletromagnetic field: making it become a magnet. So the idea is that the biker would activate this magnet system that would change the shape of the material (in the case, creating the shape of an arrow).

however, i had no success in energyzing the coil. i didn’t understand why, but i feel like i’d like to test more of this, it seems so promising!

++ shape shifting idea

— didn’t succeed in creating an eletromagnetic field

/ form and shape – wiggling pom-poms

and then i did this very ludic alternative because I felt that this “alive” patch could be something fun & a fashion statement (like fringes ).




++ fun idea that drives attention to the biker & start of attachment study

— it’s not practical / too delicate

/ reading

“What is interaction? Are there different types?” gave an overall view, presenting different perspectives over the definition of interaction and other categories tightly related to it. In my opinion, I thought it was interesting to put out so many options but also made me think that is all a matter of perspective. If in theory it’s all much more complex than I ever expected to be, it becomes very clear to me why seeing those systems in practice makes it even more difficult to classify and understand them as interaction/reaction/self-regulating/closed-loop etc.

So maybe is also the job of the designer to choose what is his interaction by defining precisely what is his intention ? Having a background within collaborative methodology, I feel that there’s also a part of the design process in which you have to give your product/system to the public and see how the interaction works without any instruction (There’s this very interesting article by Tom Igoe that he analyses pcomp projects and talks about hits and misses of interactive projects).

What if, just like in biomimicry, we start analyzing nature cycles to design more “transcendental” interactions, less forced gestures and movements (also reminded me of a nice observation over the dangerous future that interaction design seems to be leaning towards: ).

/open questions

after doing all these prototypes and videos, i find myself with the following questions to have in mind:

  1. what is my intention with this project?
  2. what kind of interaction do I want the user to have with the object? how organic or imposed this is?
  3. should it take the subject in a serious or in a fun approach?

/ next steps

i. weave the fiber optic with:

  • fiber optic
  • latex
  •  reflective fabric
  • gimp
  • waterproof

ii. think about fastening/attachment system;

iii. think about the interaction.

Published in spring 2016 wearables


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