Studio Contrechoc

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Category Archives: presentations

Cuvée – Summercamp 2016

E-textile presentation at Paillard, Poncé-sur-le-Loir, France


A laser lit scarf, the light playing a game on the knitted surface.

2015 e-textile summercamp in pictures

For a week, e-textile designers from all over the world were together in Poncé sur le Loir, in the middle of France as guests of the art center Les Moulins de Paillard.

su3The staggering main workspace

su2filling up totally with projects during the week

Impressive were the projects: tools, education, printing, wifi, mass production amongst others, read more about projects at the summercamp website.

su1the knitting area, we had 4 knitting machines, all “hacked”, that is to say we could transfer images to the knitter using either AYAB, img2track or our own software.

su5 besides the main theater there was a very organized print room, with smart printing experiments

su4 A back stage picture of the exihibition space, also in this bunch of buildings near the Loir river.

A post documenting the Knitting group can be found here: On this site more information can be found, like participants, subject matter, and lot’s of other pictures.

Cuvée 2015: e-textile exhibition 2015 at Les Moulins de Paillard.

At the 2015 e-textile exhibition at Les Moulins de Paillard during the e-textile summercamp 2015 there was a big diversity of exhibited e-textile inventions. Curators of this exhibition were Anja Hertenberger, Irene Posch and Ingo Randolf.

Invitation card:


Some pictures of the exhibition space:


Other participants of the e-textile summercamp at Poncé sur le Loir suddenly called “Victory over the Sun”, differently: “Little sister” – in French “ma soeur” – ……ok … At the vernissage the game between you and the Sun inside this exhibit was explained in both English and French.

The pun of little sister: that generating energy is more easy than getting rid of energy was well understood using the metaphor of ourselves: eating too much is easy, but getting rid of the gained kilo’s is much more difficult!

The last Volt of the supercaps is like the last kilo. Even a plain short circuit will take a long time to dissipate this energy. After opening the circuit again, the voltage simply restores itself…this is apparently an sensitive area where theory (short circuit means 0V) and practice (used materials and chemistry) don’t converge.

At the exhibition solar cells and hand crank devices were added at a table near the silhouet.


For the exhibition, lasting a week, a special presentation mode was developed. The room was rather dark, which was good for showing the discharging LED’s at the back. But the Sun could never participate. And also, the current hand crank dynamo is too fragile for a big audience.

In presentation mode the dress was charging itself using a TIP122. Aha! – As you already remarked … this was not the right transistor, being NPN. Because for charging the supercaps, being connected to the GND of the microcontroller side, the same GND is connected to both the Collector and the Emittor…

This glitch occured because the presentation mode was added at hoc and of course at the last moment. In this case of charging the supercaps, the transistor should have been PNP, not NPN. Somehow, by using two different adaptors, the common GND could be fooled and the presentation mode worked also with the TIP122. But this TIP122 (NPN) will be soon replaced by the right kind TIP125 (PNP).




Presentation Version of Victory over the Sun

During the coming e-textile summercamp there will be an exhibition displaying work of all the participants. For the Victory over the Sun project, a game on a wearable between a hand crank and a solar cell this means making a special presentation version, because the exhibition will be displayed in a closed space. No sunlight to play the game.

In fact wearable projects always needs one or several presentation versions.

The two lines of LED’s on the front will be all lit. Normally only two LED’s are indicating the current game situation. From time to time there will be a simulated game between left and right (hand crank and solar cell). That way the silhouet will be “alive” and showing its potential even without players.

vs1   front   vs7    back (if discharging)

The electronics in the perspex casings at the left side will be lit by special bright LED’s, white, inside a kind of small shade. From the top of theperspex the lasercutted text will be nicely visible. The “scary” electronics will be a bit in the dark.

vs2    vs3 right side

In preparation is the next version in this project. Flexible solar cells will be used bent over the shoulders. These cells produce 1.5V each, and the game needs 5V, so another LTC3105 will be inserted. This chip boosts the voltage to 5V and can keep the most efficient load value (MPPT).

The cells of this newest version will be on display too:


The flexible solar cells can be bend to the shape of the shoulders. The LTC chip delivers 5.2V even when the Sun is weak. Compare this to the first version:


The big LED’s are nice but the light is invisible in the Sun. But of course in the latest version the bright LED’s are blinding inside.

Knitting the 2015 Swatch

At the coming e-textile summercamp the Swatches will be exchanged. The Swatch is a sample of small size showing some aspect of a combination of textiles and electronics. A group of e-textile designers willing to put a lot of work into this exchange all make 30 samples and these samples will be distributed at our meeting in Paillard, France.

Making a prototype is easy. Normally there are 3 – 5 versions necessary to have a finalized version which is presentable. But than making 30 copies is another business. You have to organize all the needed components (most of the time you have “some”, but not 30 and then find the same things like the knitting yarn, or the same conductive thread is sometimes even impossible!).

And e-textile designers are experimenters, so we like to change and always look for possible improvements. So making 30 identical copies is … stress!

In my production time there are three phases: the first phase is slow, because I really have to start the production, make it a bit “faster”, modular, more efficient. Then all stages are getting into my system and production is started. But in the last phase I have to be careful to stay concentrated, I get careless start thinking of other projects, and am likely to make stupid mistakes.

My swatch, after making the first prototype, is now divided into three production events:

knitting: knitting the envelop

electronics: making the tribo electric “battery” and connecting the rectifier bridge and the LED

linking: putting knitting and electronics together and close the envelop by linking.

These three production phases ask for different types of concentration. With the knitting the knitting machine – laptop combination must be working impeccably. I had a problem with the board (lobotomy of the KH-940). What was wrong with the board? In the end, after checking all the connections of this fragile board, it was the USB cable! Replacing the cable solved all connection problems. Who doubts his USB cable???? In this knitting phase eventually during production I make all possible mistakes. Forgetting the weights, reversing the cast of order, breaking threads, etc, etc, etc. With machine knitting you can make a lot of mistakes indeed!

The electronics are reduced, but still this can go wrong: in my first sample after linking the knitting (closing the envelop) a wire got detached. Good for the production: make sure the wires are very very very well connected, because the knitting will not facilitate soldering inside!

The linking can be done by hand, but as a hand stitcher it would take me another week…so a linker machine is used. Of course arriving at this linker at school it is out of production. First I had to repair it. But then things go smooth.


The 30 copies knitted, not linked yet.

Description of this swatch can be found here:

All coming swatches can be seen here:

E-textile summercamp 2015:


Knitted at the KH-940

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 08.16.49

Knitting Pattern, for lace knit.

Bremen King’s day presentation

Five projects were presented at Bremen, Hochschule für Künste, during the Dutch celebration of King’s Day, 28 April (Bremen date of this day). We did this presentation of e-textile projects together with 5 projects of (which can be found there).

The dummies with the projects were placed in the middle of the people attending the celebration. The wearables were blending in so well, that there interactivity could be conisdered as “normal”. Also, because of this interactivity on these puppets, the normal clothing the visitors were wearing could easily be imagined interactive. The future of garments and clothing is near, because it cannot be considered “alien” anymore.


Overview, Solar Rim Dress, Victory over the Sun, Social Wind, Je Suis, Supernova t-shirt


Solar Rim Dress



Social Wind


Supernova t-shirt in the “Geburtstaggeschenkvortrag” at Galerie Am Schwarzen Meer, Bremen.


Small Talk Timer in action



Social Wind together with the Spine Warming Dress and the Solar Fiber project of


Back of “Je suis”



Front of “Je suis”


Bremen Presentation pieces

At the Dutch Koningsdag event – Bremen version, one day later than the Dutch version – 10 pieces of Dutch interactive clothing will be shown during a meeting of Dutch citizens working in and around Bremen.

Five pieces of Contrechoc will be shown together with 5 pieces from Marina Toeters,, during the meeting “koningsdag” in Bremen in the entrance hall of the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.

For the presentation in Bremen these 5 wearables (Contrechoc) are chosen:

  • Solar Rim Dress, 2014
  • Super Nova shirt, with added data trousers, 2014
  • Social Wind, 2015
  • Je Suis, 2015
  • Victory over the Sun, 2015

Solar Rim Dress and Super Nova shirt are datavisualisations. Je Suis is a hacked dress. Social wind is a humoristic comment on a cooling wearable and Victory over the Sun is an artistic research result.

Solar Rim dress show the actual activity of the Sun, on the rim. The 64 LED’s are placed in a circle on the side of the dress. On the dress itself some loop structures refer to the shapes which are created by magnetic fields on the Sun.

The Super Nova shirt shows the observed supernova’s of the first half year of 2014 displayed on a printed picture of the Micro Wave Background radiation. The Supernova’s are displayed in a time sequence. The flashing clearly shows “the code” of the stellar explosions. Added to the t-shirt are trousers which show the data in a printed version.

Social Wind is a jacket which is made in bright yellow fleece. The back is open and 5 ventilators are rotating gentle at that side of the jacket when the temperature inside is to high or the humidity exceeds a certain value. The Social Wind jacket is a wearable reaction to a cooling dress of

Je Suis is a hacked party dress. The text is a reduction of the “Je suis Charley” protest. When the dress is approached 5 small plates with four versions of  “Je suis” and one image version of “the hand of God” in a retro style are lifted and hidden again.

Victory over the Sun is the result of an investigation into energy harvesting. The piece is a game wearable. The game allows for two ways of energy generations to compete with each other: one solar cell against your muscles. LED’s indicate how the Sun is beaten (or not) by your muscle power.



From left to right:

Solar Rim Dress, Victory over the Sun, Social Wind, Je Suis, and Supernova t-shirt with data-trousers.

You can find more info on these wearables in other posts.


2015 NASA App Challenge

Two years ago we participated with friends in the 2013 NASA App Challenge with a wearable. Last year we did a game for the 2014 App Challenge. Now we do another wearable challenge in the 2015 NASA App Challenge:

This is the first time we really try to make “intelligent” garments. We will integrate a neural network in the wearable. This network will “learn” by trying to recognize patterns. This learning will be made visible by changing the shape of the wearable, or even morphing.

The neural network will be small, and the learning capacities will be very limited, but this is a start at “really (somehow) smart” fashion.

Details about this project can be found in this hackpad:

images will follow next week when we try to finish two wearables in one weekend, where normally it takes about a month for a wearable…

But now we come with a group of expert programmers, designers and e-textilers, together with a car full of equipment…

(Making tags for this post … nearly all tags created for this blog are indicated, which means that something will be happening!)

Project page:

Supernova t-shirt with trousers

The t-shirt showing the sequence of observed supernovas of the first 6 month of 2014 was first shown at Paillard in the summer of 2014 during the exhibition Cuvée at Paillard.

Recently trousers were added with all the data which are used engraved with a laser cutter on the fabric of the trousers.

The idea of adding the trouwers is to show the contrast between “raw data” – as text and number items,  and this way of visualising the data of a time sequence on a surface area.

So the supernova observations with coordinates and time and date indication are shown as blinks on the t-shirt and as text on the trousers.

In discussions it appeared that the meaning of the blue/green ellipse on the t-shirt is difficult to understand if you are not a little bit into astronomy. For most people it is possible to look at all the countries of the Earth mapped on one page in an atlas, but the idea that the whole sky is projected into one ellips is not easy. But of course this is the same transformation: the surface of a sphere is projected on a plane into an ellipse. We know that the Universe is “space”, but we percieve it as a sphere, because the distance of the objects in space is so large compared to what we as humans are used to.

This blue green ellipse on the t-shirt is a picture of the Microwave background radiation. This represents the distribution of mass just after the Big Bang (well 350.000 years according to the theories).

On top of this – or rather through this picture – are the observations of stars exploding in the universe. We can see these explosions which are really far away because for some time these stars are as bright as galaxies. So you get a comparison between stars exploding and the ancient mass distribution. Stars like that (very big compared to the our Sun) have a short life time (compared to our Sun). They will end in an explosion after about 10 million years. So these explosions are like leaves falling of a tree, the tree representing the universe. And of course these observations revealed that apparently the Universe is expanding in an accelerating way, indicating that the law of gravity is not the only long distance force…

Back to the wearable, some pictures, textual data on the trousers:

su3 su2 su1

The engraving, done with a laser cutter, is perforating the very light weight fabric, which is not really fabric for trousers, it was chosen more for having a nicely colored surface. (Next time, better fabrics!)


Under the t-shirt is the electronics. Five big led panels are playing the part of exploding stars. The sky is divided into 5 big area’s, for the 5 panels.  The voltage used for the led panels is 12V provided by 3 lipo batteries in series.


The datavisualisation as a time sequence can only bee seen in a movie:





Je suis – project

From the “Je suis Charlie” quick hack ( after quite a lot of modifications, this post provides some documentation of the “Je suis” project.

The project name has changed from “Je suis Charlie” to “Je suis”. In the idea of defending our “sacred” European civilization by joining in with the public outcry around the events in Paris this Januari there are too many issues – if you think about it.

Engagement is tempting but in the end individuality and doubt get the upper hand. Do we defend our freedom of speech and cartoons by necessarily offending others? On the other hand do some killer madmans – probably with some brain defects – defend their civilization by taking a gun and shooting around? Neither seems likely.


Therefore the essential “Je suis” is retained. This is an enormous shift in meaning!

Not the “I am because I think”, just the “I am”. Whatever that “I” is – whatever “being” is. Thinking closely to a text always dissolves the meaning. Individuality, supposedly developed during what we call the Renaissance is diminished paradoxically by all the “sharing” and copy pasting of the Web 2.0 and “social media” anyway.

Back to the project.

Temporarily showing “Je suis” is funny because this is the way thinking about individuality or the “I” works. Most of the time you just don’t think about it, sometimes it pops up. This voice inside our head, is it the “I”? And even when it is, why does it think it is different from  “the others”. Better? Worse? If the “I” pops up, it is only confusion. You seem to be “a thinker” if you state a blunt theory about this confusion, like “I think therefore I am” or “Sein und Zeit”. But how can just one voice inside a brain superimpose a static local idea on this evolving humanity of milliards of other voices?

The shift in meaning retained the idea of “content”, which is lacking most of the time in wearables. Combining design and interaction is already difficult enough!

So the “Je suis Charlie” flat 3D prints were replaced by “Je suis” 3D prints. In the middle the two hands, reference to the hands of Michelangelo…but in an 8 bit version! Which seems appropriate for our primitive understanding of the “I” and being.

The cord and the clips were discarded. The clips provided weight, needed for getting the plates down again. With just a cord the plates where not pulled down. The solution was to use a string of beads. This necklace is also a “normal” accessoire used in combination with this type of dress.

To pull the plates up, some mechanical problems ad to be solved. The part had to be attached to the dress to give it a rotation point – there was a black slip providing for the necessary frimness under the fragile upper layer of this party dress. And there had to be some distance from the end of the plate that is to be lifted to get an “arm” to work with. This was done with a small part 3D printed:

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 16.04.29

The angle to the horizontal and the grip on the beads of the neacklace proved essential for a proper lifting.

At the back the electronic was fitted to an acrylic transarent plate with two holders over the shoulders: (this part will be renewed by a shape done with the lasercutter)

2015-03-22 15.28.28

The electronics remained the same, there is a distance sensor which triggers lift of the plates by a stepper motor at the back. For presentations there is a special button for immediate action.

The beads were making the lifting a big job for the steppermotor, so the voltage for this motor was increased to 7.5V, two lipo’s in series. The AT328 is protected by a 3.3V Voltage regulator.

Most of the wearables hide the electronics. In this project about “je suis” it seems right to show the electronics, although on the back. You can watch the stepper motor pull physically at a cord to reveal the “content”.

A small demo movie sketch can be found here:

2015-03-22 14.48.02