Introduction to eTextile



copper conductive fabric
Shieldex® Kassel
Company: Statex
Characteristics: Corrosion proof copper-silver plated polyamide ripstop fabric, < 0.03 Ohms/cm2 surface resistivity. Can be cut with laser cutter. You can also apply solder.
Lasercut Fabric Breakout

silver stretch conductive fabric
Shieldex® Technik-tex P130
Company: Statex
Characteristics: Silver plated knitted fabric, 78% Polyamide + 22% Elastomer plated with 99% pure silver, < 2 Ohms/cm2 surface resistivity.

Stretchy Traces

Resistive carbon coated fabric
Eeonyx NW-SLPA 20k, MA-3-12
Company: Eeonyx
Characteristics: Resistive material (20k), non woven, can be used to make pressure or bend sensor

Pressure sensor

Resistive carbon coated stretch fabric
Company: Eeonyx
Characteristics: Resistive material, stretchy in both direction, can be used to make stretch sensor
Fabric Stretch Sensors

Resistive carbon fused plastic
Company: 3M
Characteristics: Resistive material, good for making pressure or bend sensor with. Very cheap.

Neoprene Bend Sensor

silver plated conductive thread
Elitex Fadenmaterial Art Nr. 235/34 PA/Ag
company: Imbut GmbH
Characteristic: silver conductive thread (100% polyamid beschichtet mit silber

Neoprene Bend Sensor

copper conductive thread
High Flex 3981
company: Karl Grimm
Characteristic: Very conductive, Solder-able, good for making circuit connections

The image is from the silver coated version of the same thread. The one we have at the eLab is in copper color.

Machine-Sewing Solderable Traces

stainless steel thread
Bekinox VN
Company: Bekaert
Characteristics: Stainless steel yarn, good for heating use, plied

conductive yarn
Nm10/3 conductive yarn
Company: plug and wear
Characteristics: Nm10/3 conductive yarn, 80% polyester 20% stainless steel, light grey, Surface resistance < 100000ohm
circular knit stretch sensors

conductive wool
Bekinox W12/18
company: Bekaert
Characteristic: Wool fiber mixed with stainless steel fiber, Suitable for felting

felted pressure sensor

Paper and ink

copper tape
Copper Tape 5mm
Characteristic: Adhesive on the back, good to make connections for paper circuits.

Jie Qi has many nice examples on paper electronics.
Also, her shop, chibitronics has nice examples made by their community >>

conductive ink (carbon)
Electric Paint – 50 mL + 10 mL
company : Bare Conductive
Characteristic:carbon based conductive ink. It has some resistance, so not very good to make a circuit with. It can be applied on paper or on skin. You can also use silkscreen to print. Water soluble. Good to make contact sensor or capacitive sensor with.

copper ink
CuPro-Cote™ PAINT
company : LessEMF
Characteristic:very conductive. It can be used to make a circuit with. It can be applied on paper or on fabric. Not suitable for screen printing.

Screen printed capacitive sensor on paper

SMA (shape memory alloy)

EL wire/ panel

Optic Fiber

Other kinds of Sensors and Actuators
You can find many examples of eTextile sensors and actuators here

Stroke Sensor

PomPom sensor

Fabric Speakers

Today’s activity

Neoprene Bend Sensor

-Neoprene (non conductive, outer layer. It can be any other materials such as felt)
-Conductive thread
-Conductive fabric (tab)
-normal thread

After you finish building the sensor, let’s check it with multimeter to see if it changes its resistance.

Let’s connect it with Arduino to see if we can read it as a sensor.
The fabric bend sensor changes its resistance in a range. It is not a digital sensor (On/OFF) but analog sensor (various range). To read this sensor with Arduino, we use Analog inputs.
More details, read here >>

To read the sensor value with Arudino, we need to make a Voltage Divider

Use the sketch File/ examples/ basic/ AnalogReadSerial

Now, if you could read it, you can also upload firmata library and try to read the value from other programs on your computer.

Firmata a generic protocol for communicating with microcontrollers like the Arduino from software on a host computer. (from Arduino Playground)
For example you can access the sensor data on Arduino from Processing or PureData using Firmata Library.
Download the firmata library for Processing and try to read out the data from Arduino. You can then use this value to draw or to play music… however you like

Here is an example sketch for processing.

And firmata for PD (called Pduino) is here