Wrap yourself in this. RAD Toronto team and Studio NMinusOne have created IM BLANKY as part of a digital embroidery exhibit for WORKShop Toronto. IM BLANKY is an ornate pattern of circuits and sensors relaying the shape of whatever lays underneath it or whatever you wrap it around. Laser scanning never looked this good.
The blanky uses Arduinos and processing to turn the position of the flower clusters into its digital form. The software receives the directional input from the clusters, reconstructing the peaks and valleys of the flexible embroidery. It’s a cool process to capture 3-dimensional objects, but it’s completely beautiful to capture it with supple silk sheet embedded with flowery conductive petals.
The blanket measures 7’7″ x 4’2″ and is composed of a distributed field of 104 soft tilt sensors. These familiar soft sensors form the most basic motif: the flower. The flower consists of 6 conductive petals, linked by resistors, and a conductive tassel in the center. The flowers are grouped together into 14 larger configurations or clusters and 2 half clusters. Working as a directional marker, the tassel’s contact with a petal registers a specific orientation or tilt of the blanket. The flowers are arrayed around the circular double power circuit, and their stems plug into a computational hub (Multiplexer). The clusters are then linked together, into a larger network of clusters, each relaying the position of its flowers to a micro-controller stitched to the back of the blanket.
Laser scanning might not require moth balls and large air-tight storage containers, but the joy of capturing a 3D dimensional data by wrapping your object with fabric and jabbing it into all the cracks and crevices to capture all the detail just can’t be beat.