dicht bij het lichaam | week 3


Final week of the research studio. Shape of the wearable is more less agreed and so is its behavior. A week of production. Public presentation should include the functioning prototype of the garment, as well as the ones from the previous two weeks. This week will also be about strategies and scenarios of bringing the product to the market, which means considering the target group of users, promoting the sustainable product and offer
a strategy of its advertising,marketing and selling/renting.

Monday, May 6, IaaC

Monday morning. This day is an exception. Today it is rather about the presenting the functions of the wearable and our idea of turning it into the real product. We meet new people from TU Eindhoven. Kristi Kuusk and Marina Toeters. After an introduction and their opening presentations we are given a short time to prepare a brief presentation of the final product based on a few diagrammatic sketches. Our final prototype will have six vibration motors controlled by the global positioning system module. Ideal for the running activities in the forested parks and outdoor tracks. Target group is active tourists. People who are interested in an outdoor activities in places, which they don’t know so well. Motors will stimulate the physical activity of the body and at the same time keep the person on the track by changing the vibration cycles based on the position. At the end of the day we decide to change the engraved pattern for the next prototype.
We create a system of isolines defining the six vibration points. File for laser cutting is being prepared.

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vibration motors testing

Tuesday, May 7, IaaC/ESDi

Another day, another prototype. Early in the morning. Changing the small details in the vector file for laser cutting. Cutter is booked for 11.30 session. We still have a quite large piece of grey neoprene from the week one. Grey on the outside, black inside and 3mm thick. Ideal for engraving. This time we need to be very careful with the engraving settings. Last time the engraving pattern was too deep so the whole prototype fell apart after few fittings. We test four small pieces of the same material before we find the right settings for engraving. Whole piece is being cut afterwards. New pattern looks interesting on the body. Elasticity of the neoprene adds even more dynamics to the pattern. We need to adjust the shape of the garment and fit it to the body. All of us agree to go for the more tight and and elastic shape which would constrain the body little more. In the afternoon we head for Sabadell. For adjustments of the wearable we need to use the sewing machine at the ESDi. Sleeves are being created. Neoprene can be easily modeled and adjusted on the body.
At the end of the day we have the first of two final prototypes for Friday. On the evening train to Barcelona. Fatigue starts to creep in.

final prototype vector drawing

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neoprene prototype’s further detailing

neoprene prototype with motors on the body

Wednesday, May 8, IaaC

New material finally arrives. It is a very thin black textile. It has a little bit of elasticity. We are going to cut another prototype out of this material, with the same pattern, and then compare both and decide which of these would be the final. Starting with laser cutting before noon. Cutting the small testing samples takes a while. The material is very thin so it is quite difficult to figure out the power and speed for engraving. After six test cuts we find the right settings. Cutting the large piece is not seamless though. The surface is not completely flat so the machine head gets jammed every couple of minutes. We need to adjust the lift height of the head. Engraved pattern looks very delicate on this material. Outer side of the cloth has a suede-like surface and engraved curves are very subtle. Gemma makes a machine-sewn sleeves and painstakingly detailed back pocket for electronic board and battery.

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laser cutting the second prototype

test sample vs. final product

Thursday, May 9, IaaC

Today is a day. All of us are packed in our small classroom. So intense. Going to spend the whole day with the electronic board for six vibration motors and bluetooth module. Guys are working on the product title and a web site promoting it and offering services. A client would pick a garment, select the location for running, choose the material based on climate and eventually could have a customized pattern. Trailblazer is its title. Http://gg.gg/trailblazer. Decide to put all the electronic components for the motor control on a proto shield on the top of arduino. Final list of components includes: 6 vibration motors Cebek 6070, 6 mosfet transistors IRF520N, 6 diodes 1N4004, arduino uno microcontroller, bluetooth module, arduino proto shield, battery, connection pins. Soldering all the components to the shield takes couple of hours. Circuit works well. At last. For powering the motors we decide to use the lithium polymer battery, 3.4V and 1000mA/h. We finally decide to use the neoprene prototype as the fully working one. Bert programs the simple mobile application which could simulate the behavior of the motors controlled by the gps module.

circuit diagram

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placing the electronics into the back pocket

Friday, May 10, IaaC

Presentations starts at 18.00. We assemble the final prototype. All the electronics fit quite well inside. Arduino shield is a little bulky though. All the motors work. One can feel the vibrations coming from the various points, the hands, elbows and shoulders. The experience is quite intense. Motors are powerful. The experience of stimulation of the physical activity and navigation through the territory becomes very tangible. One can feel that.

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web site promoting the product and service

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project team: Gemma Vila, Bert Balcaen, Rafael Vargas Correa, Martin Lukac
photo credits: Bert Balcaen, Rafael Vargas Correa, Martin Lukac
video credits: Rafael Vargas Correa

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