This weeks eTextile DIY project introduction comes from Adrian Freed, Research Director at CNMAT (Center for New Music and Audio Technology) who is by the way organizing the Interactive e-textile Workshop with Arduino LilyPad (still some places left for the August session).
The Proximity Sensing Fabric project is demonstrating how interactive fashion designer could recreate the cool iPod touch pad interface on textile substrates.
It works with capacitive sensing technology to measure touch and proximity based on the easy-to-use, cheap capacitance sensing chip evaluation board from Atmel/Qtouch.
According to Adrian, putting together this proximity fabric sensor takes only minutes assuming you have the Qtouch evaluation board which costs $30.- on hand.
The fabric proximity sensor provides another option when it comes to interacting with clothing allowing the activation of functions by proximity rather than physical touch like it is necessary for switches.
The instructions contain some background information about capacitive sensing as well as how to modify the evaluation board, extending the sensor pads with electrically conductive yarn or textile ribbons to form a larger fabric sensor you might want to use to give more sense(ability) to your next interactive fashion project.