When learning about stroke sensors, I realized I could augment an idea I was already working with: the tactility of yarn. I have been using a form of knitting called nalbinding to create stand alone arm sleeves. In nalbinding, instead of working from a ball of yarn like in traditional knitting, short strands of yarn are knotted together to make cloth in the round. Instead of incorporating the ends of yarn into the cloth I let them hang free in the sleeve. When you slide your hand through the sleeve, there is no warning that there is fringe hanging. The fringe brushes over your hand and arm until your hand pokes out the end of the sleeve.
To create the stroke sensor I sewed copper taffeta in strips down the length of the sleeve, front and back. I then sewed conductive yarn through the taffeta into the inner sleeve, long enough to brush the other side of the sleeve and that yarn. When a strand of conductive yarn touches another strand of conductive yarn, it transfers current. I sewed with conductive thread to the Flora and the vibration motor and attached both to the sleeve. Now, when someone moves their arm through the sleeve, it vibrates.
the copper taffeta
the conductive yarn (silver)
In my first iteration I didn’t realize the conductive yarn was not long enough to touch the other side, and they were also not spaced close enough together. I next sewed many in a line and it worked.
I was not thrilled with how the copper looks against the yarn for the sleeve, so next time I would be more considerate of pallette.
The vibration motor is powerful on its own, but the yarn absorbs a lot of the movement and it is hard to feel unless the motor is in direct contact with your arm.
I will definitely make more stroke sensors! I like that it requires direct interaction with the sensor to make it work and that it’s soft — it truly is a soft technology. I’ve been tossing around an idea to make chimes out of conductive yarn that play when you pass your hand through it.