Studio Contrechoc

design & textile & technology entries

Monthly Archives: July 2014

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.