February 4, 2013
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The environmental engineering scientist A. Köhler pointed out that the e-textiles of the near future will pose a problem to recycling of smart clothes, given the double nature of this material with fabrics and electronics.
He invited the e-textile workspace of V2 to come up with solutions. With this challenge in mind we started making a simple garment with electronics and documenting the design process.
From the start the garment had to be made of sustainable materials with easy separable components. We used recyclable synthetic yarns. The electronics was a chip, pollution sensor and LED bar. The visual design are texts and shapes from the LED bar.
In actually production of this prototype a lot went wrong, and the waste scared us: A design was transferred to an old (19nineties) Brother knitting machine using Designaknit. This combination of old hardware and current software was a waste of time. The knitting of the synthetic yarns proved to be more difficult than foreseen, thus wasting quite a lot of material. The only way the Brother could produced the scarf was a yoga like slow motion knitting with a double thread of the most fragile yarn. The electronic function was in line with the concept of sustainability; a warning against pollution. The gas sensor (MQ-6) is designed for room like spaces. Voltage experiments wasted two sensors. From testing we concluded that the sensor has to be deeply inside the scarf’s material. This means that the functioning of this type of electronics is depending on its being integrated.
Our conclusion is that the development of e-textiles may lead to sustainable solutions, but the process of inventing and prototyping is highly wasteful. If we are afraid to waste materials at development, we won’t develop anything anymore!
Authors B. v. Waardenberg, M. Toeters, 2012
E-publications about this e-scarf can be found in Itunes as an Ebook:
and on Smashwords: