My project allows users to create in a more free flowing, natural way. The intention is to bring the user away from their computer, and using touch gestures, control certain aspects of their computer. I specifically focused on controlling Adobe Photoshop on your sleeve. I did this by actioning certain effects on Photoshop that I use daily and linked them to function keys on my computer. I then had my Circuit Board call those functions/photoshop actions, by pressing on one of the buttons. What I really wanted to focus on was seamless implementation, have it not be seen, have it never interrupt the creator. That is why I built in the media keys. Often times I am listening to music when I am working and I do not want to get out of my application while working. With a slide on your sleeve or a tap, you can start to control your music, without having to switch out of Photoshop. In summary, this jacket allows creatives who use Adobe Photoshop to create and collaborate in a more natural and effective way.
I went through a lot of trial and tribulations on this project. In the last two days before the show, two of my touch screens broke. With having no control over that happening, I had to think really critically to come up with a new way to demo the project. I am very pleased with this project in terms of what I have learned. I have gone from knowing nothing about circuits, sewing, or wearable tech, to creating a working jacket. That is pretty cool. These are prototyping skills I will have forever. Not only that, but this project has inspired me to go on with it. A lady at the Fashion Show talked about how people with disabilities could really benefit from a system like this because it is more sensitive and/or is very easy to use. If you cannot put a lot of pressure or cannot grab things, how can you still be connected to your devices and systems? I think the answer is wearable technology and ever since that lady said that to me, I have been driven to redesign my jacket to be able to work with everyone, no matter what physical tools they may lack.
Initially I wanted to weave conductive thread into a pattern that recognized touch gestures. I quickly realized that was going to be a lot of work. I have had to simplify my project a little so I could actually build it in time. Once I knew what to buy and my materials, my project followed my original plan. The only thing that did not follow was the certainmechanisms themselves. I thought I could use a square force resist as a trackpad, but it turned out that I had to buy a touchscreen because a force resistor does not find a place in space. Also, I really wanted to dye and construct my own pattern for a jacket. In the future I do want to do that, but for right not and my time constraints from the project, I had to hack a jacket. It still looks really cool and I am very pleased with the outcome, but I originally wanted to construct my own wearable from scratch.
The largest hurdles and where I think I really showed myself was the last couple days of this project. My jacket was working on Sunday morning at 10 AM. At 2 PM it broke with 2 hours until the show. I fixed it and headed over to the show. At the show, with 40 minutes left, it broke again. This was extremely stressful and frustrating, but thankfully I brought some extra material and we fixed it. However, within those last two days, two of my touch screens, that controlled my mouse, broke. One broke from extensive use and the others port broke off. This was really hard to deal with because it changed the project. It really just effected the demo because I can alway buy more sensors and touch screens. I was able to switch up the modes so that the demo could work. I changed around a few of the inputs because they were bugging out when too much information was pushed into them. The demo was awesome and I now have a great prototype that a lot of people enjoyed. However, it was in that moment that I realized I really need to take this to the next level if I want to limit these things from happening.
In answering question number 6, if I had more time, I would take all the hard components out of this jacket. I would limit the wiring as well. I would’ve liked to spend more time on the construction of the sleeve to make it the most ergonomically in terms of the circuit. Corduroy is a very firm fabric, That being said, it does not bend super easily. However, it still can be used for wearable tech because there can be a copper printed circuit board (PCB) or another PCB material that is soft. I also want to use a multiplexing technique to analyze a lot of digital inputs at the same time and then output them over one channel. This will allow me to allow conductive thread to recognize touch gestures depending on the values. This is something I want to accomplish by the end of my time in Madison. I am very optimistic for the future because I can see wearable technology being implemented into quotidian objects very soon. With a lot of new materials and new discoveries in soft materials, technology as we know it will be very different. I want to be apart of that movement. I will continue developing this project with the hope of one day implementing it into a real product.