Textiles Interaction Lab (TextIL) was an year long initiative to promote and facilitate design and research in the field of electronic textiles at Aalto. This Aalto Media Factory funded project was faciliated by Ramyah Gowrishankar and Raija Jokinen in collaboration by the Design Department at Aalto ARTS. While developing a resource & materials pool for supporting different e-textile related projects, we also organized hands-on e-textiles workshops, a demonstration lecture from Suunto and hosted a week long Arcintex network meeting for e-textile researchers across Europe.
The two main motivations behind starting TextIL were to encourage sharing of resources and knowledge regarding e-textiles amongst the various departments inside Aalto University as well to establish relations with other universities to facilitate design thinking on a larger level for this medium. Some of the main TextIL activities were as follows: In spring 2013, two workshops called “Introduction to textile lighting and soft circuits” and “Textile thinking for electronics” were organized that gave an hands-on experience of combining electronics and textiles through prototyping with different materials such as conductive yarns and soft sensors. Students from different departments such as Media Lab, Textile and Fashion Design and Dept. of Electronics participated in these 2-day workshops. This gave the students of different disciplines interested in the subject an opportunity to meet and work together.
In Autumn 2012, a presentation and demonstration by Kimmo Pernu, the Innovation Architect at Suunto, was organized at the Media Factory Auditorium. The talk; titled “Wearable computers, e-Textiles and Smart Clothing Design – What’s next?”; focused on discussing the future possibilities and directions for e-textile practitioners especially from an industry perspective. Kimmo also brought with him several prototypes and examples from Suunto that the audience enjoyed learning about in a more informal afternoon session of demonstrations and explorations.
In February 2013, TextIL in collaboration with the Embodied Interaction Lab, hosted this year’s ArcInTex network meeting at Aalto ARTS. ArcInTex is a international network of professionals and researchers from the fields of architecture, interaction design and textiles. This was a week long event consisting of workshops and a seminar that was attended by about 50 participants from different universities across Europe. Three day workshops in 3D printing, thermal printing and e-embroidery were organized for PhD students in the network who got the opportunity to share and learn while trying out new techniques and the facilities available in Aalto ARTS. Apart from these main events, TextIL has been supporting other courses in wearable electronics by building a pool of e-textiles related materials such as conductive threads, micro-controllers, sensors etc. that are accessible to the students to use for prototyping during these courses.
Textiles interaction lab was a project led by Ramyah Gowrishankar and Raija Jokinen with the support of Aalto Media Factory and worked in collaboration with the Department of Design at Aalto ARTS. Thanks to Pirjo Kääriäinen and Jussi Mikkonen for their help and involvement. Textile thinking for electronics workshop was organized in collaboration with Mikelis Studers and Peter Tapio from ElectroShop at Design Factory. ArcInTex network workshop and seminar (arcintex.se) organized by Jussi Mikkonen (Manager, Embodied Interaction Lab, Dept. of Design), Textile Interaction Lab (AMF + DOD) with Pirjo Kääriäinen (Dept. of Design)
For more detailed information about the project please visit the project blog: http://textileintlab.wordpress.com
For more photos from the project view our flickr set : http://www.flickr.com/photos/78336251@N03/