Sample Book + Final Project

Made by MacKenzie Cherban

Document the samples created and highlight a skills investigation

Created: March 9th, 2018



My final project proposal is a combination of wearable as input and desktop as output. I want to explore the potential of incorporating capacitive touch into fabric or wearables as a way to sense input throughout the day. At the end of the day, you can upload your capacitive activity and choose to have it displayed as a visual or audio output on screen. The goal is to be able to see or hear the way that you move about your day. I'm motivated by the strumming of fingers on your thigh, tapping along to the beat in your head or a song on the radio. I'm motivated by children dragging their fingers along a chain link fence. These small everyday interactions that we usually disregard, I'm curious as to what they can produce if recorded in a subtle way.


Process + Research

I've being interested in the more unobtrusive wearable path ever since I saw Pauline Van Dongen talk at SXSW last year. My research for this project includes her work, project jacquard, and tutorials for working with conductive fabric. I explored these methods and philosophies in order to better situate my stance on this project. Look through what is out there in relation to wearables and touch, I was better able to determine what I want this project to be and what I don't want it to be. 


Proposed Product

Capacitive Patch:

I want to creative a capacitive patch that takes the subconscious tapping or motion and store it for later. Then by uploading the days movement you can see or hear what those touches transform into. Perhaps you can even share them through social media? 

Capacitive Fingers:

What happens if it's not just a patch, but something affixed to your finger tips, and something that tracks the capacitance your encounter everyday. The bus pole, the fence on your walk to school, the door handle to each building. What does it look or sound like to track these interactions? 

Each approach has the same output of visual or audio, but the two explore an active touch versus a more passive touch input. 


Sample Book

Over the course of this class, we created three samples that utilize three different techniques when dealing with e-textiles/textiles/soft fabrication. We learned how to incorporate LEDS and capacitive touch, how to solder and work with EL Wire, and finally, how to shape, set and use muscle wire to manipulate fabric. Those samples are outlined below.  


Gemma + NeoPixel + Capacitive Touch

This sample uses a pre-coded Gemma microcontroller to practice soldering and stitching electronics for textiles. We used copper fabric and iron on to build the capacitive touch pad. 


Electronic Wire (EL Wire)

Class two, we had Jet Townsend teach us about EL Wire. He broke down how the EL Wire works and how tricky it can be to work with. We created a long strand of two colors and attached it to a battery pack. While the effect is certainly cool, the amount of work to only solder the whole thing is immense. I cannot imagine creating an entire costume or installation with this material and I have a new found respect for those that work with this material! 


Muscle Wire

The examples that Sarika and Olivia showed in class were truly inspiring and showed that this particular technique can add a subtle sense of whimsy. For this sample, I found a fabric that sparked a bit of interest for me and I wanted to see what I could do with it. A few students mentioned the fabric maybe too heavy for the muscle wire, so I attached it loosely and hid it within the fabric to create a breathing effect.  

MacKenzie Cherban -


This class was a great way to further explore my love of textile and technology and how to integrate the two. Taking this class has introduced me to new techniques that I hope to incorporate into future projects. These samples and the proposal have me looking at problems and the world in a new way. I think this is the most invaluable and intangible outcome of this class. 

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99-360 IDeATe: E-Textiles

· 13 members

In this class, students learn to create active, responsive and flexible artifacts using microcontrollers, electroluminescence wire, muscle wire, and electronics embedded fabric. This course also pr...more


Document the samples created and highlight a skills investigation