I am planning to combine the practical techniques learned in this class with a product I am developing in Soft Robotics. The idea is to create clothing, particularly under gear, that is made up of a thermally conductive fabric. The clothing will have sensors incorporated to read a persons body temperature - which will then communicate with a heating system to either increase or decrease the temperature of the clothing to properly regulate the human body temperature.
This has applications both for every-day use in terms of regulating temperature for athletes, but could also potentially have medical uses in monitoring temperature changes, as well as improving extreme-weather environments (like in eventual space travel).
First, experimentation via the Soft Robotics resources will be done to test the thermal conductivity of different fabrics. We will be examining the copper taffeta we discussed in class (which is electrically conductive), as well as two other woven materials.
The product will be made up of two layers of thermally-conductive fabric, on either side of a layer of an insulating material. The heating devices will be sewn into pouches into different sections of the insulating material (likely using darts). The multiple layers of fabric will then need to be stitched together using a sewing machine and a non-conductive thread, before patterning is used to create the shape of the garment.
The best locations for such heaters are likely on the thigh, lower back, or upper arms.
I enjoyed the chance to learn both the basics to soft fabrication and to be given multiple avenues to pursue further study. I particularly appreciated how we were taught the history and science behind the techniques (especially in felting), and hope to continue to use the skills that I have learned.
The pillow found in the profile picture utilized 3D shaping and hand stitching (back stitching and blanket stitching, specifically).