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[personal profile] chebe
All the pieces were inspired by bits of Irish heritage or sayings. Some people seemed a little insulted that we were explaining the inspiration to them, while the majority of people had never heard of them at all. Were they just very regional activities/sayings, or are we largely discarding our past?

Which brings us to my own personal favourite piece. My favourite because of its relative simplicity, and because it's the closest to actual etextiles. During this piece I discovered just how wonderful real felt is to work with, and how perfect the thick soft fabric is for running channels of conductive thread, completely hidden.

And so I present, arguably, the piece most suitable for modern Ireland (perfect for the daily grind in an office); a waistcoat that lets you know someone is standing behind you, by sending a shiver down your spine.

Mannequin wearing felt and spotted silk waistcoat, front Mannequin wearing felt and spotted silk waistcoat, back

Waistcoat at Dublin Maker
Photo by chebe



The waistcoat is again one piece, but this time a combination of felt, and silk fabric with a raised furry circle motif.

The electronics are very simple; a Gemma board connected to a PIR sensor (digital read), and a vibe board. (Those little bits of grey thread trace conductive thread.)

Inside of the waistcoat, showing Gemma at side underarm, and vibe board in middle of back piece

Entire circuit of waistcoat
Photo by chebe



I used conductive thread through the fabric to connect to three snaps (connections for the PIR sensor), and to run D0 and GND to either side of the vibe board, through the channels of the seams in the silk.

Close up of vibe board connected by conductive thread to the seams

Close up of vibe board
Photo by chebe



The PIR sensor (which you see on the right shoulder of the first picture) is a bit on the large side, and we're still working on the best way to hide it. Some kind of hair decoration or embellishment on the neck of the waistcoat perhaps. It trails three long wires which we connect into our circuit with snaps. (Which I had to solder first thing that morning over at the tog stand.)

Close up of Gemma and PIR sensor wires

Close up of Gemma with PIR connected
Photo by chebe



You can learn about the PIR sensor over at Adafruit, but basically they detect infared radiation from a heat source, like humans. It can be run without a microcontroller, but we had trouble taming it. At the time we'd also been trying to use muscle/memory wire instead of the vibe board (to make your skin crawl), but with a transistor it was always on, and with a fet it was always off. Then we ran out of time to figure it out. (But, to be honest, if you are actually using it for advance warning someone is behind you, then the less obvious it is to the other person the better.)

This piece seemed to spark more future-version ideas in people than the others. Some were about helping people with limited peripheral vision, but many went much darker; from pickpockets, to dark alleys. I'm not sure how specific you can get with PIR sensors, but it could be interesting to play around with.

And so our tale comes to an end. I learned a lot, had fun, stress, and sleep deprivation, along the way. But it's always worth it. I'll leave you with photos of the day from the official photographer. *falls down in an exhausted heap*
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