Studio Contrechoc

art & textile & technology entries

Cuvée, e-textile exhibition in Poncé sur Loir

This years, 2014, E-textile summercamp,

organized in: Paillard Centre d’Art Contemporain & Résidence d’Artiste,

in Poncé sur Loir exhibited work of the participants during the workshops and group projects.

In this show the garments of the two former posts were exhibited around a table of experiments and tryouts.

Captura de pantalla 2014-08-14 a la(s) 09.53.33

The supernova code of the first half of 2014 as recorded by astronomers, can be seen as flashes on bright led panels In the right t-shirt. The flashes are projected (in five regions) from behind a textile print of the microwave background radiation:

The table content, preparation and content can be found here:


Supernova dataviz textile 2

This jacket was started before Supernova dataviz textile 1, and given a first semi finished state afterwards. The garment is a combination of stretchy textile and Brother machine (tuck) knitting. That makes it far more textily than the supernova t-shirt, with its copy of the microwave background radiation. Here the reference to a supernova is the strong quite over the top yellow color. Yellow is a reference to the brightness of the exploding star, if you can speak of colors under these circumstances. The jacket has three led panels which are showing the relative speed with which these stars outshine the whole galaxy of stars they belong to for a few weeks to months.


The data which are used is the same set as Supernova dataviz textile 1, and also, although the possibility exists to transmit these data wireless, using the RF12 attached to the chip (making it more alive and connected to the real thing) for this exhibition: the data of the first 6 months of 2014 are put on the chip. The jacket will act stand alone.

The action can be seen here:




microcontroller (ATmega328), with LED pannels (12V), using TIP122 transistors.

Three lipo batteries

Observations Source page:

Scripts, Python and Arduino (Wiring)



Supernova dataviz textile 1

Supernovas are exploding stars in the universe. They are so bright that these stars can indeed be seen throughout most of the universe. They serve as distance markers and track the speed at which the universe expands. Supernova observations have shown an acceleration of the expansion, where this wasn’t expected leading to unknown territories: forces that are not incorporated in any theory up till 2000.


We have made a crude visualization of a few of these observations. The flashes are shown on a garment which shows the whole sky. This image is the Microwave background radiation printed on a t-shirt. The oval shape is a special projection called the Mollweide projection.

The Microwave background radiation is at the other end of time in the universe, on the other hand it represents the distribution of mass which leads to galaxies and stars and ultimately to exploding stars.

This picture is a Python Image in Mollweide projection of supernova observations of the first half of 2014: (the numbers are referring to one of the 5 led pannels). (Hopefully all the transformations are done in the right way :-)

Captura de pantalla 2014-07-21 a la(s) 12.02.27

Because a t-shirt is not a screen we had to divide the sky in 5 parts, and if an observation is in these huge parts a led-pannel flashes. The visualization is speeded up: one day has become one second.

Here you can see the action.

In principle the idea was to really have a “live” connection to the universe using a wireless connection from a computer which checks the html page where astronomers put the observations of these exploding stars. For an exhibition in a space with a poor internet connection we have put the data in the script of the microcontroller.



microcontroller (ATmega328), with LED pannels (12V), using TIP122 transistors.

Three lipo batteries

Observations Source page:

Scripts, Python and Arduino (Wiring)

Mollweide projection of the Microwave background radiation : (amongst many other pages explaining this)



Developing a “smart” button

We had the idea of making a “smart” button with the attiny85 . It should also contain it’s own energy source. This is the first step: designing the holders for attiny85 and battery.

With a 3D printer this idea could finally materialize. This post is the process of developing the smart button. The fact that this is a small object does not mean that there are just a few versions! Even the few restrictions, 3V coin, attiny85, holes for sewing mean that there are many parameters to consider.


This picture should give a direction for the end result:


Because of the small size the print is on the edge of the possibilities of our 3D printer. Nonetheless it still is rather big as a button. The 3V coin battery is the shape which determines the size of the button. The resolution of the printer and the 3V battery are matched: even if the printer had a better resolution this battery would remain as big…

The two shapes, a 3V coin battery holder and the top with the attiny were developed in Blender. Both shapes can be clicked onto each other. We have used our preferred design shape, the regular five, as the ground motive for the design.


For sewing there are tiny holes in the battery holder, and another version has loops at the outside for weaving (for those who have a 5 sided loom :-).


Programming is done with a AVR mkii. It can be done in advance in a breadboard or later using crocodile clamps. This is a picture of programming a Attiny85 which is inserted in weft.


At the moment the button is just the battery and the chip. Other buttons could contain sensors, or modes of expression.

This post is about the shapes, the circuit is not yet expressive, there is only a connection between the chip and the battery.

It is not our goal to design a universal set. There are already many examples of great universal sets available. But if one considers to make a design statement this universality is incompatible.

Blender files / STL: (available soon).




Swatch 2014

For the e-textile summercamp 2014 edition, swatchbook exchange this tool for probing static electricity was made.

Several times I added a touch sensor (darlington array) in textiles. More than once this touch sensor works without textiles, but doesn’t work sewed in. This is because static electricity gathered on the cloth is enough to exite the darlington array. This probe reverses this disaster: we use the setup to investigate in advance if static electricity will block your nice touch sensor on your combination of fabric and conductive thread.

Static electricity is also dependent on temperature and humidity, besides materials and friction. So the universe of static electricity is unpredictable from a human perspective. Static Electricity is very fond of different plastic materials where it can hide locally in all kinds of isolated spots. Exploring different plastics is fun.

Concrete technology:
A darlington array of two BC547C transistors, a LED, 3V battery in a 3D printed case (not textile!). The setup is a prototype – not yet as clever as the Chinese gadgets!

Print the casing yourself! STL files:

The interface is still a bit awkward. Press the button and make sure you touch also the upper part of the battery (in big hole). Test it by touching the front metal probe with your other hand, the LED should light up. The battery can be replaced. Plastic wrappping paper is a good material for exploring: it has local points which light up. Conductive material gives a very constant reaction. The tool works also to discover if there is any conductive material in a textile and where: for this touch the material with your hand and the probe n the other,  explore the fabric.




Tested materials:


result of 3D printer design and the inside.



E-Textile Swatchbook 2013 in MAK

For the e-textile summercamp 2013 Hannah Perner-Wilson had the idea of making samples and exchanging these samples within the group. This book of samples was called the Swatchbook. Now this book and the samples can be seen at the MAK, “Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst in Wien”.


You can see the Swatchbook in action here:

My contribution was titled “Exobag”. It is a storytelling item with coming journeys to exoplanets in mind.
No doubt you have seen the landing in 2005 of a probe on Titan, moon of Saturn: eg (Someone thought it appropriate to have an orchestra playing Beethoven during the landing???)

swatch2 eb30

Nowadays thousands of planets are discovered around stars in the neighborhood of the Sun. Imagining voyages to these planets, sometimes with 2 or even more Suns, I made the “Exobag”.
This piece of green and camouflage textile should remind you of Earth, while doing a picknick along a lake of frozen Ammonia. When a cloud of Sulfur dichloride (for example) shifts between you and the several Sun’s, the bag will start flashing green: reminding you of back home. When returned to the Earth (after several decades of lightspeed travel) our civilization will be long gone, and everything with it. So you can recycle the tiny computer (Attiny13) in the Exobag and start evolution again :-)

Making of the Exobag in 24 copies was a challenge. Being a artist-prototyper, having to standardize and mass produce meant redoing things (too) many times…

You can just discover the Exobag in this picture of the Museum Exhibit:

Captura de pantalla 2014-06-10 a la(s) 17.52.00

A detail from this bigger picture:

Captura de pantalla 2014-06-11 a la(s) 07.02.32

Night of the Nerds 2014

Contrechoc presented at

print screen beurs notn

A panoramic view where the Contrechoc table is in the center.

The presentation is showing various research items to give an idea of the complexity of e-textile design.


The solar rim dress with laptop showing images of the Sun rotating. The images are sent to the dress. Two images for every day from Januari, 2014 were shown to see the differences in display.


Also the E-textile swatchbook was shown.


In front the public could experiment with thermo chromic effects and at the right side you could explore static electricity on different conductive materials.


Conductive materials from the e-textile summercamp 2013 doggy bag.


In the middle the solar cap, which can be harvested for a solar cell and an related motor. This motor with black feathers glued on it was given power from an arduino board. When rotating the feathers collected static electricity. This was indicated by the darlington array:


The static electricity explorer: a darlington array. The 2014 contrechoc swatchbook contribution.

Epicycle on the circle of the Solar Rim Dress

Rewriting the history of astronomy on an e-textile dress :-)

Long before the telescope people watched the sky and saw the stars move uniformly and keeping the same patterns night after night. Also they saw other lights, which were not following these rules. These were called the wandering stars or the planets. Observing longer the ancient astronomers discovered that these movements were also following patterns: the planets seemed to move around the moving sun. The sun was of course moving around the Earth in those days.

Moving in a circle around a body which moves in a circle makes what is called an epicycle. When observations were improving, one circle around another was not enough, and more and more circles were added to account for some orbits, till the sun conquered the center of our solar system and the orbits were allowed to be elliptical.


On the circle of the solar rim dress (in a special setting, a button on the sleeve) a LED light can move around. Then another light is added which moves “around” the first one. This second light is sometimes going faster and passing the first light and sometimes going slower, and even reversing.

This reversing is what the can be seen with real planets too. On the picture you see several LED’s lighted, but that is a POV effect.

2014-04-03 22.55.53

The video is a bit obscure – to see the LED’s:

A screenshot of the code and the text:

Captura de pantalla 2014-04-27 a la(s) 19.54.10

You can easliy see that a number is running from 0 to 64, it has to be divided over the 8 “memory slots” of 8 LED’s. So a bit of fiddling with modulo and division. Then a second LED is added which has a sine distance of the first LED.

A bit of playing with the speed (delay), amplitude and the divisor of the sine give the reversal LED.

Here is the code in text:

char code[] = {B00000000,B00000000,B00000000,B00000000,B00000000,B00000000,B00000000,B00000000 };
for ( int i2=0;i2<8*8;i2++){
int k = i2 + 10*sin((0.0+millis())/900.0) + 64;
k = k%64;
i2 = i2%64;
if ( (i2/8 ) == ( k / 8))
code[i2/8] = (B00000001<<(i2%8)) | (B00000001<<(k%8));
if ( (i2/8 ) != ( k / 8)){
code[i2/8] = (B00000001<<(i2%8));
code[k/8] = (B00000001<<(k%8));
for ( int i3=0;i3<8;i3++){
code[i3] = code[i3];
Serial.print( code[i3] );
code[i2/8] = B00000000;
code[k/8] = B00000000;

From interface to interbody to interspace

Interface is a word which indicates an interactive surface mostly a screen in between a human and a machine, usually a computer. It is a medium, an in between. You can interact with a machine using an interface, but what you do is interacting with the interface.

Interface design is used for websites, to make the use easy. The information is divided over different pages but should be found fast. The links on the screen are the “buttons” you can push with your mouse.

Interface as a word consist of inter and face. The face is clearly the face of a human being: there you get information about emotion and it is this face which smiles or gets angry and from this face are coming words, that is meaning.

For e-textile the interface is the textile itself, or the electronics embedded where you can interact. The double layer of textile and electronics is “the machine”. The machine is more than only the electronics, because the textile can be reactive too, eg light up, change color, change shape. The interactivity can consist of buttons, sensors and screens, LED’s, but also wireless connections to other e-textiles (modularic friends) or computers (Solar rim dress).

The coming example is more electronics than textile, but it displays nicely the main point of this text.  A 4 line display is wrapped in textile to soften the electronic shape. On the screen all is done to get a more lively expression on this rather dull display. But the display overpowers all efforts imposing its rectangular look and feel.

Captura de pantalla 2014-04-23 a la(s) 20.36.26

Most of the electronics, like this LCD screens are “hard” that is rectangular, also the LED matrix is rectangular and the lines of LED’s which I made by hand, soldering wires from one LED to the other where either rectangular or geometric, that is a circle:

Captura de pantalla 2014-04-23 a la(s) 20.37.05 Geometrical use of LED’s, a circle in A display of 64 led’s shows sun activity on a dress.

The idea for a scarf which i am making is to have an alcohol sensor, and display the level of alcohol in the neighborhood. (Usually that is the person who is wearing it.). The first approach was expanding on an earlier e-scarf.

I already made an “e-scarf” to indicate pollution, see :

Captura de pantalla 2014-04-23 a la(s) 21.05.34

But the idea for this scarf which should help in recycling was to have the electronics as small as possible, what was done using a small LED-bar – which is rectangular, one dimensional.

For a bigger effect in the following alcohol sensor scarf I used a LED strip i made myself ( )in a second knitting of the same (pink) scarf:

2014-04-23 21.11.34 2014-04-23 20.57.58

I  have made the same LED bar effect only bigger, but because it is longer, with over 40 led’s, i have coded a double display in this LED strip: one with an indication of the absolute value and one which indicates the change. By using invert, these two values cn be followed in one led strip. This is double use of one single dimension.

These DIY led strips are flexible (although fragile, the DIY soldering is not really bend proof), but the machine made led strips which you can buy everywhere nowadays are much more robust and flexible.

For the knitting of this alcohol sensor scarf I used the image of a wine glass as motive and inserted such an industrially made programmable LED – strip:

sjsj 2

(This scarf was knitted in positive and negative.)


I started orderly making the led strip follow the shape. But the led strip twisted while inserting and the effect was totally different from the “rectangular” display of the former scarf. This can only be seen in a movie:

Even with a simple running theme programmed faster and slower and in different colors the whole perception of the effect is changed. The effect is like cars driving on motorways at night, or a fly speeding through your room, trying to escape. This feeling is present even on this surface which is lying on a table and is still rectangular. If a person is wearing the scarf this effect will be on a curved plane, where parts are hidden.

This is, in my opinion an example of what will happen everywhere in the future: not only the rectangular surfaces, but all 3D – that is curved surfaces, like the body, will became interfaces.This could be called: interbody instead of interface. Interface is still referring to this small screen, the “face” where everything is globally clear.

But not only clothing, but also walls, chairs, tables will participate in the tendency of becoming interfaces. The notion of the interface as computerscreen will disappear, embedded electronics will make everything react.

This could be called interspace.

The only problem is our brain. We are pretty good at one dimensional information, like text. This one dimension is often time. Time allows the brain to process information bit by bit. The brain is also not bad in 2D situations, like pictures. Half of the brain is processing visual information, which comes in between 2D and 3D, because the brain also uses the movement of  both the eyes and the head.

Besides that: surfaces, even if there are curved, like waves on the ocean, can be made rectangular locally. Compare the strategy of the mathematician who deals with a complex 3D manifold: the manifold is defined as being locally rectangular, thus allowing for “normal” vectors, vector functions and vector fields in small area’s. If the manifold is nice you can even connect these rectangular surfaces and you can easily arrive at our experienced (flat) space.

In e-textiles which are 3D using dimensions of tactility of materials, shape/color, movement reactions you end up in a far more complex “space”, which is far from rectangular.

So the development of an e-textile interbody or even interspace is developing an environment which is fundamentally different from everything before which was reduced to local rectangular geometry, because we go the other way, not back towards a locally rectangular surface, but in the direction of complexity.

The question is where to go for meaning, setting up references for this “other” interactivity paradise which is developed at the moment. It is a direction which is always avoided. Where every logic – because this is rectangular – fails.








Interactive Prints and knittings

Interactive prints is an experiment to transfer the interactivity of wearables into the domain of graphical design, like etching. This resulted in an experimental installation in Studio Minnigh.

ik4 ik3

The second stage was solving the problem of the electronics at the backside of the print. Although tiny, it still needs some space. With knittings as a frame not only the space for the electronic is secured, but also the texture of the knitting is adding to the print it’s color and feeling.

ig2 ig4 kn1

Other experiments were getting a motor to rotate a long sheet of printed paper when somebody is approaching: the first version is still working with a lego mindstorms, the second is having its proper circuit on a attiny85.

ig10 ig9

Having some foam lying around this phantasy around a switch is made:





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