Re-FREAM Embroidered Touch / Life Space

Re-FREAM is a collaborative research project, where artists and designers team up with a community of scientists to reimagine manufacturing processes within the fashion industry. The aim of this collaboration between Anke Loh and her Re-FREAM partners at the Fraunhofer IZM, was to advance and contribute to the development of touch-sensitive embroidered textiles.

At the center of this collaborative project named ‘Touch (and Staying in Touch),’ is the tactile nature of working with textiles, particularly in the context of machine embroidery. ‘Touch’ was the foundation and guiding principle for developing the technology and design choices Loh has made throughout this project. It is particularly relevant while living during a pandemic, where social distancing and a lack of physical interaction has become essential, as well as our ‘new normal.’

To illustrate the interaction between the wearer and smart textile, the team designed software that communicates with a circuit board, picking up signals from the embroidered material when it is touched. The data collected is then transmitted via Bluetooth to an app on an external device (laptop or mobile phone). The signals trigger a sound file to play through the device.

The available sound files are a mix of field recordings from nature, urban spaces, string and percussion instruments created by musician Peter Maunu, as well as spoken and sung words by Christine Shallenberg. The result of this collaboration was four sweaters (two for adults and two for children), which communicate through sound and color changes as a response to touch and body heat.

The process and final results are documented in the six-minute video.

Collaborators: List of project credits.

1 210831-3074-75

2 210831-3068

3 210831-3163

4 210831-3064

5 210831-3090

6 210831-2983

7 210831-2968

8 UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_9336

  • 1 210831-3074-75
  • 2 210831-3068
  • 3 210831-3163
  • 4 210831-3064
  • 5 210831-3090
  • 6 210831-2983
  • 7 210831-2968
  • 8 UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_9336