Another amazing way on how to ‘soften electronic’ or should I say ‘electrify textiles’ has been worked out by Leah Buechley, an Embroidered LED matrix providing a soft display for your next outfit.
Leah’s ‘proof of concept’ demonstrates how to create a textile display by using both sides of a fabric to realize a 2 layer (top and bottom) PCB. The textile itself serves as an insulator between the two layers of conductive yarns. This allows the creation of a grid or matrix without making electrical contact on the crossing points.
The top side of the fabric has conductive threads in vertical rows while the thread on the underside (coming from the bobbin) is conventional, none conductive thread. The bottom side of the fabric has the horizontal rows made of conductive thread by swapping the thread in the bobbin with the conductive type.
To bring the electrical (conductive) connection from the backside of the fabric to the top where it is needed to solder the LEDs, conductive thread is stitched in this area creating a so called ‘via’. You can see them in the photo as brownish areas next to the LEDs.
The textile LED matrix comes to life via Leah’s LiliPad Arduino, giving our future e-fashion designer everything needed to design the next Interactive Clothing collection.
Leah’s demonstration of an Embroidered LED matrix highlights (pun indented) how textile displays could be made, at least for one-off, tailor made e-fashion creations.