Group Members: Ellen Yang, Jeffery Kung, Paschal Giki
Instructor: Antonious Wiriadjaja
Class: Talking Fabrics
Project: Final Project
Description:
Our project was a take on couple’s outfits. Rather than showing that the two people were in a relationship, these clothes provide an example of an unhealthy relationship with an unequal power dynamic.

Process:
We spent a long time developing our idea. It was difficult for us to reach a consensus for a idea. After a few different proposals, the group decided to make couple’s gloves that would warm up when both parties were wearing the gloves. The gloves would also be able to send pre-determined emails to the party requesting favors from the other. The way the original proposal was phrased in a way that made me think of an unhealthy, borderline abusive relationship. I didn’t want to make something teetering on the edge of abusive, so I thought it would be better to make something that intentionally created an unhealthy dynamic in a relationship. The actions of one user would be intentionally make the other user’s more difficult or distressing.

Initially, we were going to incorporate emails and heating elements into the interactions, however, due to difficulties Jeffery and I had with the flag foot ball belt battery, we were uncomfortable that would require more power or dealing with a modified heating pad is such a small space. We tried prototyping the project by just trying to get two arduino yuns to communicate with one another while still connected to the computer. We had difficulty getting the arduino yuns to communicate using wireless communication, so once again, we scaled down our idea.

Emails were out, so we decided we would use the xbee controller to allow two arduino unos to communicate via radio waves. We were able to get these two to communicate; we had decided to use a buzzer to signal our other user. Below is our code and a video of our test:

/*
AnalogReadSerial

Reads an analog input on pin 0, prints the result to the Serial Monitor.
Graphical representation is available using Serial Plotter (Tools > Serial Plotter menu).
Attach the center pin of a potentiometer to pin A0, and the outside pins to +5V and ground.

This example code is in the public domain.

http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/AnalogReadSerial
*/
const int sensorPin = 8; // the number of sensor. it is digital
const int output = 13;

int sensorValueSend=0;
int sensorValueReceive=0;
// the setup routine runs once when you press reset:

void setup() {
// initialize serial c ommunication at 9600 bits per second:
Serial.begin(9600);
pinMode(sensorPin, INPUT);
pinMode(output, OUTPUT);
}

// the loop routine runs over and over again forever:
void loop() {

sensorValueSend = digitalRead(sensorPin); // read the input from the sensor
sensorValueReceive=Serial.read(); //read input from the Arduino

// send the read value to the other Arduino:
Serial.write(sensorValueSend);

if (sensorValueSend==LOW ){
if (sensorValueReceive==LOW){
digitalWrite(output, LOW);
}
if (sensorValueReceive==HIGH){
while (sensorValueSend==LOW){
digitalWrite(output, HIGH);
sensorValueSend=digitalRead(sensorPin); //read input from the sensor again
}

}
}

else if (sensorValueSend==HIGH ){
if (sensorValueReceive==LOW){

digitalWrite(output, LOW);
}
if(sensorValueReceive==HIGH){
digitalWrite(output, LOW);
}
}

//now compare the send and received values
delay(10); // delay in between reads for stability
}

 

Partner A would have an button they could press that would send a wireless signal to Partner B’s arduino causing a buzzer to go off. This buzzer could only be quieted if Partner B made physical contact with Partner A. We had abandoned the idea of gloves, our aruionos would be too bulky and it would be inconvenient to wear and affix to the gloves. After deciding on sweatshirts over scarves, we ended up with t-shirts. This would compromise the comfort of the user, as we wanted to place the arduinos in pockets of a sweatshirt, so we decided that we would have to just try our best to hide the arduinos within the shirt.

With the t-shirts ready, we decided we would use conductive fabric as a switch to turn the buzzer off. We ended up with Supreme shirts, and decided to incorporate their iconic logo into the design. Partner A would have one whole piece of conductive fabric, which would be able to complete the circuit on Partner B’s shirt. Partner B would have two pieces of conductive fabric in the same place as on Partner A’s shirt (right over the logo). There would be a gap between these two pieces of conductive fabric, making an intentionally disconnected circuit. When the two hugged, Partner A’s shirt would be able to complete the circuit on Partner B’s shirt, shutting off the buzzer. These pieces of conductive fabric would function as our sensors.

The switch to turn the buzzing on was on the left arm of Partner A’s shirt. The switch was made of two pieces of conductive fabric with a bit of space in between them. When pinched together, they would complete a circuit that would send a signal to Partner B’s arudio to turn the buzzer on.

Illustrations for the circuit are below:

We used a combination of hand sewing and the sewing machine to attach everything to the shirt. The sensor pieces of conductive fabric were attached to the t-shirts using the sewing machine, while all the other components were attached by hand, as many of them required conductive fabric. We created little pouches for the aruinos and batteries that we then attached to the back of the t-shirts.

Below is a video of the t-shirts working in person:

Reflection:

I had really wanted to focus on making this project something that looked like it wasn’t a rough prototype, instead, I felt like my design ideas were not considered and plain ignored. If we were to do another version of this project, I would really like to make it as small as possible, maybe using the Lilly pad Arduino or a smaller one. While most of us were all present to work on the project on the same time, I don’t think it required four people to work on it. Perhaps if we had divided the work more clearly, there would have been more active participation. That’s the main take-away I got from this project.

In addition, for me, I think this project suffered fromĀ  a problem I face in general when creating things. I think I try so hard to be aware of the message that the thing I’m working on is sending that I want to make sure it sends a message that says something ‘important.’ I thought our project was really interesting because I thought it visualized a toxic relationship in a very clear way, while when people you’re actually in the middle of a bad relationship, it’s difficult to tell.

This project could have gone in a much more light-hearted way that was more of a spin on a couples outfit that didn’t send a negative message, but also wasn’t trying to make commentary on a heavy or political topic. Now that the project is done and life has calmed down, a bunch of other ideas that are expansions on the couple’s outfit that rather than illustrateĀ a very serious and potentially dangerous situation, poke fun at the obnoxiousness of couples outfits and PDA. I think I need to focus a lot more on the development of the project and try to make something more ‘fun’ in the future.

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