Tek-Tile Fellowship: Embedding Electronics into Textiles


Tek-Tile fellowship: embedding electronics into textiles at the Brooklyn Fashion + design accelerator

This past summer Alexia had the chance to participate in a fellowship along with 14 other designers and engineers to develop textile swatches with embedded electronics at the BF+DA in Brooklyn. The Tek-Tiles group worked closely with the trained professionals at the BF+DA's production lab to develop this technology to be used with the Japanase Sheima Seki knitting machines, which have incredible capabilities and gave the group the opportunity to explore this new territory with these advance machines

During her time at the fellowship Alexia was able to help ideate and co-develop 3 Tek-Tiles Swatches as well as one of the garments that was produced for the launch of the project: the Signal Cycle Jacket. 

Signal Cycle Jacket

This piece was developed in conjunction with engineer Zoe Rosenberg, one of the Tek-Tiles fellows from Lehigh University. For it we used two of the Tek-Tiles we developed as a group: the LED Pocket Grid (developed by Zoe with the help of the production lab staff) and the Pinch Switch. This is how it works, while the rider is cycling the lights are always on, it is not until the cyclist pinches the switch on the side she/he desires to signal that the LEDs swipe on the shoulder.

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Here is a peak into the process of laying down the circuit wires to the shoulder pad, as well as  wires for the buttons embedded the sleeves:


Zipometer Tek-Tiles Swatch

The Zipometer was one of the basic tiles developed, in it's simplest description it is a zipper that acts as a potentiometer. Think of it as a light dimmer. In the case of embedding this into textiles, Zipometer could be used, as in the swatch below, to have a light change colors within the garment, but also has the potential to activate and regulate heating fibers within a garment, or control the volume on your headphones. The final circuit to the LED light was knit into the left panel of the swatch. See process shots below for more details into the process.


Making the Tek-Tile Hangers

Alexia designed and produced the first generation of the Tek-Tile hangers. This was done in tandem with the team in charge of the custom PCB you see in the picture below. It was important to contain all the  electronic elements, while keeping the hanger as slim and elegant as possible.