The assignment this week is to create a garment that expresses messages to people around you. I was struggling a bit with the ideation because, once again, I wanted to do something that is practical and doesn’t focus only on the concept but I found it really difficult for that because the ideas I had in mind were mostly really conceptual. I decided to go with the idea I wanted to do the most even if it cannot be used in real life at all. I realized that if I limit myself by caring too much about “making sense” then there’d be no point in doing this since I couldn’t really express my thoughts as I wanted to.
I decided to create a headpiece that protects the wearers from their surroundings. This headpiece looks just like a scarf or a neck accessory in its normal state and, depending on the wearers’ decisions, with the use of muscle wires, it will expand and become a shield-like headpiece that prevent people to interact or get close to the wearers. This head piece is inspired by Winnie Yoe’s ‘Confrontation for Introverts’ workshop where one of the participants created a helmet that prevented people from seeing her face. The head piece I created is for the wearers to send out the message and let people know that they want to be left alone or they don’t want any accompany at the moment.
I tested out Shape Memory wires (4 wires at a time) and they were working perfectly when I connected them with Arduino using male to male wires and conductive tape. I then sewed 8 wires to the fabric and used conductive thread to create the circuit. Unfortunately it didn’t work when I plug the headpiece into the Arduino. There was spark and flame and then my Arduino shut down and I was too afraid to try again. I figured it might be that the 5V was not enough to heat up 8 wires at the same time? I then switched to 11V battery but again it didn’t work. The wires didn’t get hot at all. In the end I needed to use a hair dryer to heat the wires up to get them back in the programmed shape since I didn’t have enough time to look for a more powerful power supply. I also haven’t installed an on-off button/switch for this headpiece too.
This headpiece looks pretty nice in my opinion! My next step is to try to find a way to make this work with battery since I wanted it wireless and I also don’t wanna risk breaking my Arduino again. I will also need to install a switch that will control when the current can pass through the wires.