Pleated Electronic Textiles for Wearable Technology
This 4-year practice-led ECDF research project aims to investigate how novel soft circuits can be created through constructing electronic functionality as sculpted dynamic objects, rather than as plane surfaces. In particular, we will look at the textile technique pleating and experimental modifications thereof, which is traditionally used in textile and fashion design to create volume and dynamic texture; to explore aesthetics, performativity and interaction potential of origami textile wearables.
The aim is to study pleated textile sensors and actuators across three scales: micro, meso and human scale. Data types and quality that can be generated through smart or unusual 3D sensing electronic textiles, kinetic structures, and (in combination with the previous two) complex body movement, will be explored. The findings will be used to develop a framework for designing and using such e-textile technology, including a methodology for designing and evaluating body-worn pleated e-textile structures, and a sensor data collection and analysis tool.
The findings could be applicable to fashion design and performance, and to other fields where knowledge and practice of pleated sensor and actuator structures could lead to light, comfortable and robust electronic objects and devices, e.g. architecture, healthcare or aerospace engineering.
This project intends to contribute to the body of work in research through design in the field of textile wearables. Exploratory textile and garment construction techniques are applied, to broaden the current portfolio of textile sensor and actuator technology. We are interested in solutions derived through experimental design and artistic practice, and how these can prompt engineering solutions while providing poetic outcomes. We further aim to develop a system for retrieving and applying data processing procedures that inform creative and functional exploitation of pleated e-textiles, which will be provided freely to other researchers and practitioners in performance, design and engineering disciplines.