Talking Fabrics – Final WriteUP

For the final project for Talking Fabrics, we had to find groupmates to work on to make atleast 2 arduinos talk to each other. This was building up from the class assignment that had us learning Digital I/O and commnicating with Antonius’ arduino. I’d been thinking about a project that involved a carpet that one could step on and alert someone else somewhere else that this person had say woken up in the morning, or left the house. I really wanted a project that involved a carpet because from the different weekly projects I’d realised that it was very hard to design and eventually put out a truly “wearable” fabric. So, I wanted to work with something that’d ensure that my electric components are not only immobile but also wouldn’t disconnect easily. Hence the carpet idea that would be used as a way to send some kind of message to a receiver somewhere else.

During the “discuss your idea” rounds, I met Miha who had somewhat of a similar idea who also told me he’d been discussing something carpet-related with Asiya. We agreed to meet up after the rounds and see if our ideas could sync into one. When we did meet up with Asiya, she had come up with the random idea to have a “ghost carpet”: you know, one that had footsteps being shown on it as if something was walking on it, without something actually walking on it.

Since Antonius had just been discussing the memory wire, Asiya and Miha thought we could use it to show the ghost footprints, however having remembered a friend that had a project using them, I warned them that the memory wire didn’t revert to start position after current was run through it, and so we’d have to pull the carpet back into straight position each time. We then decided to consult Antonius on that and he seconded that thought and also let us know that the memory wire available was also probably too weak to pull a thick fleece let alone a carpet. It was then agreed to develop a new mechanism to show the ghost footprints but first, we’d have to sample fabrics and see what was available.

The 3 of us went to the fabric market and got 3 samples of potential carpets to try¬†out. Miha then built a sample mechanism for the solenoid running blink with them and it was decided that the grey fleece kind was best. Since I had kept record of the shops we’d gotten samples from at the fabric market, I was tasked with hunting it down and purchasing the carpet we were to work with. In the meantime, Asiya built the sample velostat resistor since she had a prior experience with using velostat as a pressure sensor during one of her individual projects. We then put together a prototype of the different systems working on one arduino to see whether this would work out.

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When we confirmed that it’d work, we built bigger versions of the project i.e Miha connected another solenoid, Asiya made human foot sized presure sensors after we learnt from Antonius that the current had to be all over the foot for it to work effiiently and I wrote the two separate codes for one arduino dealing with the pressure sensor values to communicate with the other based on feedback.

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