Studio Contrechoc

art & textile & technology entries

GPS track fiddling, knitting and 3D printing

To have some pratice (or fun) we did a GPS tracking of rowing on a small river in Holland.

We used Open GPS Tracker on an Android to make the track.


You can add pictures, notes etc…

We tracked, sent the .kmz  file to ourselves using email. This kmz file can be imported into Google Earth to show the track:

Captura de pantalla 2014-09-05 a la(s) 14.25.18

To extract the coordinates we changed the file to .zip, unzipped and got the .kml file. Here you cen get the coordinates out and (using some find and replace tricks) import the file as a .csv into excel, using visualising tools to get the track again:

Captura de pantalla 2014-09-05 a la(s) 14.01.45

Using this line to make a low resolution image which can be knitted:

titanic_vlist_120_168            nordic1

Making a new version because it became a mess in the knitted version:


The diagonals are meant to restrain the wires at the back of this Nordic Knitting.Still this track is not really “designed”.

Somehow we fiddled further with the excel file, rounding of the numbers and got this more designed “London sub-way map” straight version of the track:

Captura de pantalla 2014-09-05 a la(s) 14.11.48

titanic_stile_100_80      titanic_knit_b

The two versions were also printed on a 3D printer using the contrast to relief script of Blender:

Captura de pantalla 2014-09-10 a la(s) 18.51.58

track_print2       track_print1

It was fun to add water inside the square boxes to get the tracked (which was rowed on a river) in the water again.


But this straight line of “real” GPS coordinates didn’t show all the details of the track. There is an infinity sign hidden in the starting point. This can be seen by turning the track in the perspective of Google Earth:

Captura de pantalla 2014-09-10 a la(s) 06.46.22

W have to figure out a way to make this perspective line into a subway map design transformation…:-)

We returned to the track, redesigned by excel, and copied the rounded coordinates out of the excel sheet, pasting them into the .kml file, zipped this file again and made it into a kmz file. Then importing it into Google Earth again as a track we obtained the “square rowing” track:


One of the students, Naomi, has written all the conversion steps in a pdf: (Dutch language)

and if you want to play around with coordinates, here is an excel document, with the right formula’s, and an excel graph, which updates when you change the orange cells:

Captura de pantalla 2014-09-14 a la(s) 20.25.41

There remain a few versions to be knitted and printed, and a way to add water to the knit :-)




Return to cellular automaton Knitting

For A low resolution workshop we revisited the knitting of patterns generated by Cellular automaton strategies. Of course as a designer we liked the choatic rule set number 110 very much!

This tutorial explains all about the chaotic rule set:

The image was generated using a cellular automaton program. Then the image had to be reformatted in low resoltion. (Using the Nearest neighbor/Hard Edge option in Photoshop.) Then the image could be transferred to the Brother KH-940, using either Designaknit or the Arduino Due (with the Knitic board, but our own software.)

Later on we added text to the image (Protest Knit).


cel44 cel2




protest30  protest23

The powerpoint of the Low Resolution Workshop can be found here:

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.

supernovaGar1Captura de pantalla 2014-09-14 a la(s) 11.47.53


Visualizing the exploding stars seems far away from our body and thus not very connected to garments. But these explosions is also quite “related” if we realize that all the atoms in our body are only made in these extreme exploding stars. We could not have been around if the supernova’s were not dispersing these atoms in the interstellar medium.

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;


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