In my opinion, touch is a shock that can be comforting. When my skin brush across someone else’s, I feel an electric shock traveling up my nerves. This tingling sensation gives me goosebumps and a strong emotion of excitement. The tremors running through my body sounds like an alluring melody sang in high-pitch vocals.
At the same time, the tremor can make one fearful. Tremors can come in the form of a million fire ants crawling up my four limbs, constantly biting me at every millisecond, or a numbing shock from the sting of a jellyfish while swimming in the cool embrace of the waters. The result is fear, followed by numbness and the gradual transition to desensitization. I perceive desensitization as a climax of an emotional responsive state when I no longer feel anything through touch – when touch becomes incapable, thus intangible.
However, the desire to touch and to be touch is innate in us. We seek for comfort when we are shock and we seek for shock when we are in comfort. This cycle continues endlessly.
When touch reaches a climax, it can only repeat itself.
In a virtual world, in separate spaces, we are limited to touch through our physical boundaries. We can only make use of our visual and auditory senses along with the aid of different types of programmed sensors to guide us through our exchange in touch.
The Narrative I envision:
The concept of my narrative revolves around the theme of ‘Touch’ in a futuristic context. Imagine, in a futuristic world, how will touch be like? As science advances along with the scientific knowledge and craftsmanship learnt through biomimicry, we venture into the realms of technology and eventually use the craft to replace the role of Mother nature. These effects are already evident now: rats can be made to glow in the dark, cellulose can grow into clothes, clothes will open up in vents when we sweat.
In addition, we can change our environment to suit our needs: plants are watered at regular timings with an irrigation system, we can control the temperature of our environment with the invention of air-condition, we can modify the weather so that rain happen through cloud seedling. Our environment is no longer the same and we can expect these external changes to reflect in us too. We do not need to talk to communicate our ideas across to one another. We can interact across different spaces. Maybe we can even interact in our dreams. We look different. We take on different personas inspired from the skills we learnt from mother nature.
We interact with each other while we are in separate cubicles through seeing and hearing. We move in short actions, like a programmed machine running through a series of causes and effects stimulated by what we see and hear. Somewhere, there is light. Somewhere this light causes movement in another space through sight. Somewhere the movement bring about sound. Somewhere, there is sound. Somewhere this sound causes movement…and the cycle repeats.
Wearable Kinesthetic systems for capturing and classifying body posture and gesture by Alessandro Tognetti, Federico Lorussi, Mario Tesconi, Raphael Bartalesi, Giuseppe Zupone and Danilo De Rossi
This review evaluates the design, the development and the understanding of sensing garments for the human body gesture, posture and movement. Sensing garment is defined as the incorporation of innovative, comfortable and spreadable sensors with garments.
Sensors are directly built in LYCRA fabric by using conductive elastomer (CE) sensors. The CE used is made by a silicon rubber and graphite mixture, manufactured to conduct electricity. This mixture can be applied on an elastic fabric substrate according to the shape and desired area for the sensors using an adhesive mask. CE sensors is a good technology as it provides both sensors and wiring by using the same elastic material and does not use noticeable metallic wires which may restrict the movements of the wearer. CE sensors show piezo-resistive properties when a deformation is applied and they can be integrated onto fabric or other flexible substrate to be employed as strain sensors.
The biggest advantage of sensorised garments would be the achievable idea of wearing garments for long duration while being monitored without discomfort. Sensorised garments are a possible alternative and comfortable tool for use in many rehabilitation areas, in sport disciplines and multimedia field.
Wearable Electronics and Smart Textiles: A Critical Review by Matteo Stoppa and Alessandro Chioleio
This review delves into the latest developments in the area of Electronic textiles (E-textiles) and focuses on the materials and their manufacturing process. It explores the strengths and weaknesses of different techniques and emphasizes on achieving a balance between flexibility, ergonomics, low power consumption, integration and autonomy.
E-textiles are fabrics with embedded electronics in a way that components and interconnections are almost unobservable with moldability and distinct size that is unachievable with conventional electronic manufacturing techniques. Embroidering, sewing, non-woven textiles, knitting, weaving, braiding, coating/laminating, printing and chemical treating are some ways of combining electronics with wearables.
With E-textiles, we can use computation and sensors to manipulate outfits to suit our sensory needs. Smart textiles may eventually be integrated into our daily lives. The function of wearable technology rely on their ability to recognize the behaviour of their wearers and the environment they are in.
Example of use of conductive thread in ‘Human Antenna’ by Florian kräutli
The employment of new materials such as conductive threads, conductive inks and organic semiconductors, along with technologies such as a drawing die with a steel mount and a ceramic/ carbide/ diamond core for wire drawing, sheet-based inkjet and screen printing that can print conductive material on various substrates, sintering technology, stretched sensors, pressure sensors, bio-potential sensing systems, capacitor sensor, electrochemical sensor and power supply technologies, in wearables, will serve as a means of increasing social welfare and might lead to important savings on welfare budget.
While E-textiles and Sensing garments involves various complexities with the use of specialised technology, I believe that they have great potential to aid us in many ways in the area of social welfare.