Tagged: wearables

HTB2.0 – Residency Day 7

Today we worked with our own DIY devices rather than the ‘pre-fab’ sensors. We spent a good portion of the time workshopping the shirt with the actuators and then moved on the other soft circuit garments.

We covered a variety of activities – live coding the buzzers, buzzers triggered by a handmade sensor, and using data from the previous day’s work with the Polar and OmSignal shirt to create a buzzing pattern. In general, the vibe motors that are shown on each sleeve.


The live coding of the actuators worked really well. I created simple keypresses in Processing to send OSC to the xOSC micro controller and turn the buzzers on and off. We tried various scores such as switching between right and left sides or limbs, or stopping moving when sent a short buzz. The dancers really did respond as an output of the coding.

We also explored using the crocheted stretch sensor. This had some slight issues during the process, but also had some clear moments of connection between the two dancers. The issues were more technical aspects – the sensor did not work wirelessly as Processing would not read the bluetooth module. Also at times the computer stopped reading the USB device (which I have had happen with various Ardunio devices at different points, especially when powering off the computer). However, the breath rate of one dancer did in fact change the starting and stopping of the actuators on the other dancer when it was all working.


Finally, we used data sets we had previously collected and created arrays in Processing to trigger the buzzers. First we used a set from one of yesterday’s improvisations with the Polar heart rate. There were some issues with the rate at which the data was sent to the actuators – Processing went through the set very quickly, and usually was done with the first half of the set by the time the OSC connected. This made for some odd latency issues. However, finding a longer set did help with this issue. We also used a data set of respiratory rates from the OMSignal. This was more complicated to achieve as there is no API or web data with this device. Instead, Camille hand recorded all the data from that session in order to be input into the array. What was interesting was that there was a clear difference in how the garment translated the heartbeat versus the breath rate and the dancers were able to translate this into their movement.

Also, the Processing code is going up on github and you can find it here: https://github.com/sicchio/hacking-the_body

Here are more images Camille took of Kate helping dancers with the wearable she made with vibe boards and the wireless X-OSC board that communicates with Kate’s computer:



Kate troubleshooting the sketch she made:


IMG_3237Even though OM Signal said they would try get us some data to work with it was’t in time for our residency so Camille had to hand ‘collect’ the data from some of our sessions by trying to find the peaks and valleys of the heart rate and respiratory rate, so that we could use this data in the array that Kate wrote in Processing, here’s a screen grab of it:

IMG_0106We had the dancers write their experiences after each movement exploration for a hetero-phenomenological understanding of each experiment/movement activity.


Below are the dancers exploring movement with handmade wearable devices on the neck (with the Flexinol/Muscle wire and pressure sensor) and the arm (stroke sensor and vibration actuator):


All in all the day, was very revealing in terms of giving us some ideas of which direction to go in for future iterations of the project, papers and more funding. More will be revealed in future.

For now, the next step will be to create a custom sensing and actuation garment, maybe work with OM Signal as well for sensing, if they get their API done this year and wish to work with us, and develop some movement vocabulary with dancers that explore a few specific sensors or physiological data, likely with more X-OSC boards with vibration, as the response is very easy to work with in terms of response in movement, and possibly more with muscle wire for other haptic interaction.

HTB2.0 – Residency Day 6

Today was our first day at Siobhan Davies Dance Studios with our two lovely dancers Charlie and Emma. We worked with the pre-fab biosensors today and went through a series of dance improvisations and reflective writing exercises with the dancers to collect more information about how sensing informs how we think of our body and movement. We structured the improvisations off the conceptual framework we discussed earlier in the week – ‘unknown unknowns’, ‘known unknowns’,  ‘known Knowns’ and ‘unknown knowns’ but also moving from sensing for self, sensing together, sensing with collaborators and sensing for corporations.


‘Unknown unknowns’

We started with just putting the sensors on the dancers and telling them to do an open score improv, where they could move however they felt.


‘Known unknowns’

We then told the dancers what we were sensing with the devices on their bodies and revealed each of the sensors one by one. Each new sensor was explored in a 5 minute solo dance improvisation.

We then asked them to explore a similar process, but as a duet, where they were asked to communicate what they were sensing (which sensor they were focussing on: heartrate, respiratory, calories/energy, strength, etc.) to the other dancer. We asked them do this 4 times to correspond with the of the 4 physiological types of data the sensors were collecting. This was expressed first as more of a contact improv interaction, and then later became more of a call and response score, as we asked them to each communicate a different sensors each time,but without the other dancer knowing which. It was a very interesting to watch how they moved further apart as they tried to use eye contact and watch each other to communicate the different data types/sensing rather than what they are used to doing with contact improv.


‘Known Knowns’

We then revealed more about the process and overall project to the dancers – what we were aiming to make with the sensors, why we wanted to collect data. This definitely changed their behaviour from the first open improv and the dancers were much more reserved in their movement, focusing much more on what ‘data might be useful’. The movement became more exercise-like, such as trying to tire themselves to manipulate their heartrate or breathing.

We also “lied” to them to see how they would respond to suggestion of what we intended to do with the data (i.e. make a particular type of performance), to see if they would change the way they danced and this indeed did happen, they wanted to help manipulate their imagined idea of a visual or musical outcome that we might make for the performance.


‘Unknown knowns’

We then discussed that these were commercial devices and apps that were collecting their biosignals. This was the prompt for the final improvisation.

Below are some of the images from the Polar app that Camille grabbed from the sessions to show the various ways the company think people want to track their data. Sadly, because they won’t share their API with us unless we are an insurance company, fitness company or medical company/institution and pay for it. So we couldn’t use any date from them.

IMG_3694 IMG_3693

IMG_3219 IMG_3220 IMG_3221 IMG_3222 IMG_3223 IMG_3225 IMG_3226 IMG_3214 IMG_3215 IMG_3216 IMG_3217 IMG_3218 IMG_3199IMG_3202

Below is the interface for the OM Signal which only had a ‘screen’ for each of the data types it was collecting: heart rate, respiratory rate, calories/energy, and strength.


Below are some images from Emma trying to express strength through movement.


And some other data type here…IMG_3209 IMG_3210

Charlie exploring one of the senses in ‘conversation’ with Emma.IMG_3212

Camille watching Kate measuring the dancers while Dann films them (getting into the movement with them). IMG_3192 IMG_3198Dann in the moment.

IMG_3196Emma and Charlie trying to express their sensor.


Creativity and Cognition 2013, Sydney

Here are the images from our 3rd workshop June 17th, 2013 in Sydney, Australia – on intro to soft circuits this time with intro to Arduino programming, at the 9th ACM Conference on Creativity & Cognition 2013

TekStar workshop – Byron Bay Australia

Here are the images from the TekStar Festival, Hacking the Body – intro to soft circuits crafting for performance, in lovely Byron Bay, Australia, June 15th, 2013 – see also the TekStar website http://www.tekstar.tv

ISEA 2013 Hacking the Body workshop

Here are the images from the ISEA Hacking the Body – intro to soft circuits crafting for performance, in Sydney, Australia, June 9th, 2013. See also http://www.isea2013.org/events/hacking-the-body/ and https://www.facebook.com/ISEA2013


Performative Examples:

Online Tutorials:

How to Get What You Want


Lilypad  and e-sewing basics/Leah Buechley


Fashioning Technology


Soft Circuits Saturdays Wearable projects and resources

Felted Signal Processing http://fsp.fm/

Creating Felt Sensors http://learning.codasign.com/index.php?title=Creating_Felt_Sensors

Materials/ Sensors to buy or make:

open Materials http://openmaterials.org/2011/03/27/materials-101-electrotextiles/#special

Flexible Stretch sensors http://www.imagesco.com/sensors/stretch-sensor.html

Plug and Wear http://www.plugandwear.com/default.asp?mod=cat&cat_id=86

Plusea soft electronics http://www.plusea.at/?p=938

Awesome “kit-of-no parts” electronics you make http://web.media.mit.edu/~plusea/?category_name=actuators

Mediamatic  http://www.mediamatic.net/12648/en/wearable-arduino

Conductive materials http://3lectromode.com/blog/2013/01/01/conductive-materials/


Arduino (Lilypad & Flora) resources:

http://www.adafruit.com/category/92 – overview of Flora & to purchase

http://learn.adafruit.com/getting-started-with-flora – getting started

http://lilypadarduino.org – getting started

http://www.learning.codasign.com/index.php?title=Beginning_Arduino – more on getting started

http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Foundations – Arduino’s own learning resources


Australian electronics distributors:

Little Bird Electronics, Toys Down Under, RobotGear, Australian Robotics, ProtoGEAR, Squarebit, Bilby CNC, Gorillabuilderz, The Life Automatic, Ocean Controls, Electron Hobbies, Sedonia Technologies


Other Key Suppliers (non-Australian)

Spark Fun – https://www.sparkfun.com/categories/top?category=135&since=ever&per_page=50

Adafruit – http://www.adafruit.com

TinyCircuits http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kenburns/tinyduino-the-tiny-arduino-compatible-platform-w-s 

Lithium ion polymer batteries

I spent the day trying to charge the lithium ion polymer batteries I have for my Seeeduino Film Frame and try to program it as well as get my other lithium ion polymer batteries charged with the new charger.

Here is the Seeeduino UartSB Frame USB based programming adapter charging the battery of the this ridiculously small Seeeduino Film Frame … I managed to get it programmed and the battery working, but did not actually get it to blink on the Film Frame just the UartSB Frame… so more research and components …

So this is the charging activity above… now I have to get them doing something – like powering the Flora or Lilypad… next thing…Camille

Crochet Stretch Sensors – Working with conductive yarn

For the Unraveled performance, I have been working with conductive yarn. What I have found is to make sensors with a resistance that is measurable. I don’t focus on the electronics and measurements so much – just what seems to work. A lot of this is based on Kobakant’s How To Get What You Want. So I highly recommend checking them out, especially if you want conductive and resistant measurements.

Basically I crochet a sample of yarn with the conductive yarn and normal yarn just paired together as if I were crocheting with one piece. The conductive yarn is Nm10/3 conductive yarn. The stitch I default to is a double treble (UK) crochet stitch. I actually taught myself crochet through these tutorials.


I have been trialling different types of normal yarn and have found some just are not resistive. My test is a simple 3.7V battery , resistor and LED and when the yarn is stretched. In the image above you can see the types of yarn I have tried.

Silver – All conductive yarn. Great as a conductor but no resistance
Blue – 80% bamboo 20% wool. No resistance.
Pink (used in video) – 100% cotton. Works best.
Yellow – 100% Acrylic. No resistance.
Pink/White mix – 70% triacetate 30% nylon. No resistance.
Hot Pink (pictured below on soft circut sample) – 50% Acrylic 50% cotton. Works well.


I have used the working trials in creating soft circuits with the crocheted stretch sensor, battery and LED with conductive thread. Below the crochet is sewn onto stretch jersey fabric so the stretch comes from the fabric.


And here are some videos of the 100% cotton yarn in action

Crochet Stretch Sensor 1

Crochet Stretch Sensor 2