eTextiles summer camp is a week-long gathering of expert practitioners in the fields of eTextiles and soft circuitry, founded by Hannah Perner-Wilson and Mika Satomi of Kobakant. It is an wonderful place to share ideas, collaborate and prototype at Moulins de Palliard arts centre in rural france. There was an public exhibition of our pieces, workshops to teach techniques, focus groups to explore ideas in more depth, presentations to share and discuss findings and lots of home cooked food and local wine. A perfect summer holiday and a hotbed of future collaborations and inspiration.
I worked in the 'Make your Tech and Wear it' focus group and explored the aesthetic language of wearables and how this can/will affect our response to tech on the body. The image below is a pair of leather prototyping cuffs made using only textiles and soft circuitry (and - full disclosure - four sewing pins). The right cuff has an eTextile breadboard, power source and thermochromic coating to warn the wearer if a component is drawing too much power. The left cuff is a continuity tester with interchangeable output slots, a pouch to hold small components, and pin cushion. This is a working sketch for an idea to make a rapid prototyping kit which will be presented as a fashionable accessory. It also asks the question: would someone want wear it without knowing of it's inherent purpose and could this pique their interest in making/wearing tech?
The idea was inspired by Irene Posch and Hannah Perner-Wilson's 'Tools for Practitioners' project, developing the aesthetic aspect to pose questions. The final prototype will incorporate all the ideas from the pair of cuffs into one refined functional object and I will make a small run for people to wear and test. I would be fascinated for someone to want this accessory without knowing (or maybe even caring) of its purpose.
If you would like to follow the prototyping accessory project, purchase one of the test run or make your own, the patterns, techniques, circuit diagrams and materials will be compiled and posted on Hannah and Irene's tool website toolswewant.at