Jackets: working prototypes
Embrace jackets are wearable jackets embedded with vibration motors that are triggered by pressure. Each jacket represents the two extreme personalities of people are physically affectionate. Each jacket sends vibrations to the person they are hugging. However, when worn together, the jackets complete a circuit. The vibration simulates the transfer of energy from one person to another, while the connected circuit represents the natural connection between people.
To make this circuit, first I prototyped with alligator clips and then made sure the two circuits closed each other. I decided to put 3 LEDs in the back of each jacket. This was to make the visual consistent and ensure that lights would be visible.
I tested the circuits by having two people hug with the conductive fabric taped to the front of the jackets.
Once I was comfortable with the placement, I decided to start building the circuit in the actual jacket. I started with the long jacket. The challenge was the the LED legs went through the fabric, meaning that when I soldered the legs together with stranded wire, there would be no way to adjust the placement of the circuit if needed. It was also challenging soldering over fabric. Overall, this actually wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, only time-consuming. It took about a day to do each jacket.
Although I love the look of the back with the LEDs, I definitely think I lost that simple, clean look on the front with conductive fabric. I wanted to ensure that no matter how a person hugged, the fabric would touch. This meant that I wanted to cover as much area as possible with conductive fabric, which ultimately makes the jackets look a little messy. To build on this, I would like to laser cut a design, or even cut a design in the conductive fabric to make it more visually appealing.
If you’re wondering if I’m happy with the result, the answer is very much so, yes!