Studio Contrechoc

design & textile & technology entries

Monthly Archives: March 2010

Connected Garments project, some technical details

This page is explaining some technical details about the project of Marina Toeters, contrechoc and Meerthe Heuvelings, called connected garments,

Marina Toeters and Meerthe Heuvelings did most of the garments, contrechoc did most of the electronics, but we like to switch places around the sewing and the soldering equipment!
The official pdf’s about this project can be found here:

We have made the electronics fit in soft pockets which can be attached to the clothing using magnets. Of course the wiring has to be connected, some pouches containing the batteries some the soft buttons, some the electronics.

Sender and Receiver:
We used cheap wireless doorbells to send a signal from the coat to the vest, and from the computer to the shirt.

Visual Messaging:(intermediate distance)
The LED matrix showed the signal was send with a text passing over the LED’s, using a ATmega168 chip.

Sensual signaling: (close)
Close together some pockets having a RFID chip and antenna could send a trigger to a vibration pouch.

Sound messaging: (distant)
Connected to a laptop another wireless doorbell pair could send a signal to the shirt. This signal was triggered by the computer in connection to a data Base. The data Base can be triggered from a page on the Internet, so everybody can trigger the shirt. The shirt reacts by producing a soundscape around the person who wears the shirt.

The wireless doorbell pocket: (electronics outside the pocket)

wireless doorbell

A wireless doorbell consists of 2 parts, the bell and the chime part. We cut out the speaker and searched for the pin on the chip producing the signal: (the ringing part of the doorbell is used as it is, the trigger is duplicated in a soft switch and the ATmega168 can also trigger this ringing doorbell part)

wireless doorbell

This wireless doorbell trick has been used three times in this project: two between the vest and the coat and one between the laptop and the shirt.

The RFID chip circuit board was actually made with at FABLAB Amsterdam with a Modela during a FABLAB workshop, a picture of it was already in MAKE in this post:

The details about the chip and the board can be found in this blog entry:

Here is the picture of the final result with the electronics inside and outside the soft textile pocket:

wireless doorbell

wireless doorbellat the corners the small magnets can be seen.

Now you know a bit about the technicalities you can appreciate more the pictures in the pdf’s! Lots of work, making the clothes, the pockets, the electronics, soldering and programming, testing, showing, making pictures…

but fun too! This is the first stage of our collaboration, the next experiments and concepts are being developed!

Marina Toeters is fashion designer, specialized in innovative garments, Meerthe Heuvelings is student industrial design, University Eindhoven, contrechoc is an artist.


AVR links

Sometimes learning works backwards! Most of the time you start doing things, but even if it works some finer details are lost and you have to go back to pick these up the knowledge you skipped unconsciously. That is why learning is not lineair, i suppose…

working with io microcontrollers is a good example. You have the hardware, the circuitry, the programming, the sensors, the part of the effects and programming in the computer, and in the microcontroller, the rapid prototyping of the things around and with the microcontroller…
too much to be learned on one neat lineair go…

So after quite a lot of experiments you see the cleanness of directly programming the chip. You have seen the Atmega168, but also other chips, Attinies etc…and suddenly the focus is on AVR Studio and avr-gcc again….

Already programming with AVR (assembly and c) and understanding the basics meant the first projects were easily accomplished. Later on i started looking for a more evenly distributed approach, when using more kinds of chips. You get an overview of properties, number of ports, pins, memory etc. Having ordered an evaluation board at last (always experimenting on a breadboard before) i can try out three chips without shifting around the connections too much.

Then I started looking for some AVR tutorials to review the details…
here are some links of useful collections of sample programs:

huge, but in German:

about principles of connecting, for instance, why use a capacitor over a button: