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I recognize the conductive stretch fabric used in this project from the Less EMF sample pack; it’s luxurious and lovely to touch. Adrian Freed at the Center for New Music & Audio Technologies at UC Berkeley made this multitouch gesture controller:

The fabric is stretched in an embroidery hoop and draped over an inverted circular bowl. A piece of conductive plastic cut in a special shape forms a corolla on the surface of the bowl. The tips of each petal are folded inside the bowl and taped with conducting adhesive copper tape. The microcontroller board measures the electrical resistances of these petals from their tip to a common center established with a conductor at the flat of the bowl. As the conductive stretchable fabric (the “calyx” to complete the flower analogy) is displaced towards the bowl it shorts out different lengths of each conductive plastic petal. The result is a circular array of nearly mass-less displacement sensors. The gesture-to-displacement relationship changes according to distance from the center of the bowl (variable “gearing)”. This allows for several different playing styles.

I can’t wait to see learn more about this, particularly a video of it in action. Via Hackaday.

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Becky Stern

Becky Stern is head of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site: sternlab.org


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