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Concept: Hand-felted wool stalactite and stalagmite sculpture collection given anthropomorphic behaviors.

Impetus: I was thinking about the 1973 Thompkins/Bird book, The Secret Life of Plants that explored the idea of plants as sentient beings with physical and emotional characteristics. Cave mineral formations while not actually made of what is considered living material, do exhibit characteristics of life. They are dynamic and grow and change over a period of time. They are affected by humidity and light conditions, provide housing for microscopic organisms and the oils of mammals can cause them harm by discoloration or decay.
I wanted to give these mineral structures behaviors that took place during moments when humans are not in close proximity.
I chose to make these mineral sculptures out of soft organic material, raw wool, which I wet-felted together. The breathing lights are made of LEDs wired in parallel. They are controlled by Arduino.

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Future Goals: To use sensors to allow sculptures to react to the presence of others. Change in photocell values would cause sculptures to become upset and cause rapid blinking. Servo motors would be causing movement but if sensors values altered, movement would stop and they would freeze in place.

Thanks so much to Cecilia, Paola, Erline, Liz and Monica for your help this semester!

So here is my final =) A few pictures of the process and final product… I learned a lot while doing it, and hopefully you will too.

So I started with the idea.. A jacket the would have two states, one patterned and one not. I wanted to accomplish this with the use of thermochromic inks, conductive thread, batteries, and magnets, I wanted the jacket to be solid when open, and show a pattern when closed (closes circuit).

Original drawing of jacket

The first step was selecting the fabric, inks, and trying them out. With the trail swatches everything when smoothly: the inks worked well, when heated they disappeared, and then re-appeared.

However, while doing the final jacket, things did not go quite as smoothly =) There were a few problems I would like to address… Mainly the inks seem to have not worked well with the fabric, even after working well on the swatches. I ended up getting odd results, the inks turned green after a few hours… I am assuming it is an issue regarding the curing temperature / method (heat press at 130 C for 3 minutes). For the samples I did not cure the inks as per the manufacturers specs, so they only worked for a couple days and eventually faded…

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So in conclusion I will have to say this is still a work in progress. Hopefully I will be able to find a way to make the inks work with this fabric, after contacting the ink vendors. I will keep you posted. If not, I will have to explore what other fabrics will be a better choice for these inks.

My final project was to put together a kit and instruction set for people who want to learn about Shape Memory Alloy.

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Heres an example of what can be made with the kit:

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The user will need to press on both buttons in order to get both lights to turn on. The plan is to make each button a soft switch and to connect it to the Lilypad for my final babydoll.

They also had a lot of new solar powered lamps and lights.

Surface Switch Book from Takashi Kondo on Vimeo.

Bloom: A Nurturing Embrace from nueve on Vimeo.