history
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history

* the modules have evolved to fabrickit, now available for sale!*

In the summer of 2006 Despina built a modular, reconfigurable dress made of 400 identical white circuit boards. The idea was to experiment with modular structures and be able to assemble and re-assemble circuits to come up with new iterations of garments and accessories.

That work eventually led to the modules collection as it stands today. Despina started working with Zach on the collection in March 2007 as part of an ongoing experimentation with materials, rapid prototyping and concept iteration.

So far we have developed a collection of 5 modules and a flexible, removable and rechargeable battery system. We have also developed a series of garments both in order to demonstrate how the modules can be used but also in order to learn from the process and find ways to improve them. We strongly believe that it is in the doing, and in the space between engineering, interaction design and the history of clothing that the most interesting ideas emerge.

We developed our 2 part battery board in order to have a system that afforded us maximum flexibility, was robust, safe and used connections that belonged to the vernacular of clothing. We could not find anything that suited our needs so we ended up making our own.

Our work is mostly informed by our interactions as a team and our desire to find solutions for problems we have created! In the summer of 2007 we had a costume designer, Andrea Lauer, work with us and we know that such intersections give us a unique perspective in the way we approach both engineering and concept development.

In 2007 we had with 3 interaction design interns, Alexander Reeder, Kyveli Vezani and Rory Nugent who worked with the modules and try to find ways to make them more user friendly. Alex and Kyveli developed some of their own applications using the modules and Andrea finished a performative garment that makes use of 3 of our modules.

overview

So far we have developed modules for sound input and output, LEDs, and temperature sensing and display.

We have also designed a unique, rechargeable battery system that is easy to remove and reattach to garments or in other applications where washability is important.

All modules share a common interface; with one wire each for power, ground, and communication, they can be easily connected to one another or to an Arduino-based circuit. Multiple modules can communicate with each other over a single ommunication line. Each module has a unique ID, and the infrastructure is already in place to allow them to communicate with eah other.

All modules offer connection points that accomodate a conductive ribbon or thread. Wires, conductive velcro, metal rings, or snaps can also be used to wire the modules into a circuit.

Each module features a programming header; new programs can be loaded with an inexpensive AVR programmer or by a custom made programmer. Programs can be written in Arduino (version 010 or later).

We will continue working on the modules, adding new ones, as well as improving exisitng code to make it easier for new users to jump in and develop their own applications. In the next few weeks we will be making available most of the documentation for the modules (boards schematics, code etc), and we hope to get feedback that will help us expand our collection of modules, as well as share it with a larger community of developers and designers.

We are making our work open and available because we are interested to see how others will use the modules, get feedback and see how they can grow. We hope that if others use our work that they share their insights with us, and credit us when and where appropriate.

 

 

studio5050 PMB 386 - 315 Bleecker Street - NYC 10014 - tel. 914 613 3491 - emailme@5050ltd.com
Licensed under the Creative Commons.
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