Textile Interaction Design explores new expressions 

On the 5th of June, Anna Persson, who is a doctoral student at the Swedish School of Textiles specialising in Smart Textiles, defends her doctoral thesis, Exploring textile materials for interaction design. The subject of the thesis is textile interaction design and primarily focuses on knitted textile materials. In a number of design experiments, Anna Persson has explored possible expressions in the field through both practical and theoretical work.

– The point of departure was an investigation into the possibilities in textile materials from the point of view of interaction design, focusing on tactile and visual changes. I have created knitted textile materials starting out from more or less defined design scenarios.

By placing the material in a context, Anna Persson has investigated what it really is one designs when designing in this kind of materials – both considering the physical material itself and the interaction.

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Practical work as a motivation

Several experiments have resulted in design examples as for example suits reacting to specific motions the user performs by sending a wireless signal that causes a wall hanging to alter its pattern. Three interactive carpets have also been developed in collaboration with Kasthall Mattor och Golv AB: Spår (Traces) lights up as someone sets foot on it and the heated carpet Glöd (Glow) changes its striped pattern to a chequered one.

The materials developed are not finished products in themselves; instead, the practical has been the driving force behind the research.

– The purpose of putting the materials in a specific context was to explore possible tactile and visual interactions in textile structures, Anna Persson explains.

The theoretical results exemplifies and shows design variables specifically concerned with interactive materials. What is in focus during the design process and what is specific to these kinds of materials? Anna Persson describes her research as basic research in textile interaction design and she hopes for her thesis to contribute to a view in which advanced technology come through as softer and better adapted to humans.

Public defence of doctoral thesis

Doctoral thesis: Exploring textile materials for interaction design
Link to the pdf version of the thesis: http://bada.hb.se/handle/2320/12221
Public defence of doctoral thesis: 5 juni kl. 13:00–16:00 in lecture hall M404.
Opponent: Senior lecturer Sarah Kettley, School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment,
Nottingham Trent University, England.