This installation allows users to interact with kitted fabric in an audible, visual and tactile manner.
Inspired by the rolling, mossy landscape of Iceland, Felted Terrain translates the shapes of a natural environment through the generation of three-dimensional, interactive textile. When installed as a piece of furniture, surface and sensory outlet, the knitted fabric is able to transcend beyond its familiarity as merely a clothing material, and lets users experience it in ways never before conceived.
The project, which is the brainchild of Maker and recent MIT MArch graduate Yihyun Lim, attempts to subvert the notion of felted textile typically used throughout the handmade craft world by integrating various soft electronics, computational design and alternative means of fabrication.
Lim used a circle packing script to generate a knitting pattern in Rhino3D. Once created, conductive thread was knitted together with wool yarn at the center of each circle to make capacitive sensor tips. Each of these points were stitched back to an Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328), which was loaded with a modified CapSense Arduino code. Meanwhile, an XBee module was employed to wirelessly connect the computer to the textile.
The received serial data was then transferred to a Processing script, so that every time a bump was touched, the circuit connects and translates into a sound and a sine wave graph. The size of each circle corresponds to the pitch of a musical note, which enables a tactile touch to not only be felt, but heard and visualized as well.
The Terrain was knitted using a hand-operated machine in one square meter patches. Completed sections were sewn together and underwent multiple washings as part of its shrinking process to create a tightly-packed felt textile. These pieces were then formed and air dried to retain the shape of bumps.