This interesting E-textile from Philips, is used in display and architectural settings. It is a soft, multi-layered textile, on which video can be played, allowing for any image or pattern, still or dynamic to be played out on the panels. These images can be changed to suit the occasion or mood. They work by having multi-coloured LEDs set into the panels.
The company also markets the product as a sound-absorbing surface (unlike hard, painted walls, glass, etc), as well as having an ambient, decorative effect.
The textiles include ‘Kvadrat Soft Cells’ patented technology, which provide the sound-deadening effect. The textiles are made of Trevira (a polyester fibre, with a chemical structure that is naturally flame retardant), selected, for its safety and ease of care.
Philips Press Kit includes the following demo on their product:-
I can imagine that these would be a welcome addition to open offices where sound levels can be high. I wonder if they might be a tad distracting if they feature a moving image, though? I can see the benefit for dynamic presentations at exhibitions and presentations; for branding with company colours; and for adding ambiance to hotels and clubs. The images seem to be rather misty and blurry, so are not aimed at replacing monitors and screens.
In the fashion world, I see from a 2011 article on website Shiny Shiny, that Lady Gaga and Katy Perry were already sporting dresses that lit up.
The LEDs and power source can be attached to the textile, or made integral to the textile using a conductive fibre.
Company, International Fashion Machines, makes E-textiles with conductive or resistive fibres, available as yarns or woven and coated textiles. Their E-textiles can be made into clothing that monitors the wearer’s heart rate, or textile keypads for controlling an iPod, or a heating product. The company says that “They can be used to create sensors, thermochromic displays, data transfer systems, antenna and heating elements.”
American artist, Maggie Orth, has made work such as ‘Pile Blocks’ which have an interactive element. As the viewer touches different parts of the woven textile, an electrical charge flows through the conductive fibre and the body of the viewer, earthing itself. This change in the electrical charge triggers varying, moving light patterns. The patterns will also interact with each other like waves, across the surface, using a software programme.
Maggie Orth, Pile Blocks, 2008
Media: Hand-woven cotton, rayon, conductive yarns, silver ink, thermochromic ink, drive electronics and software. 62″ x 54″ x 8″
Another artist incorporating light in her work is Swedish textile designer, Malin Bobeck. This piece, below, is intended as a self-portrait, as a tribute to all those who have touched her life. The viewers can interact by touching the textile causing colours to move over the surface, caused by hundreds of individually programmable colour LEDs, connected to a microcomputer.
Malin Bobeck, Those Who Affected Me, 2015
Media: Custom optical fibre textile, woven on jacquard loom (full details on the artist’s website). 1.5 x 2.5m
These E-textiles offer opportunities for adding light, movement and interactive qualities (monitoring, heating, controlling electronic devices) to static installations or wearable garments. I’m not sure if it is something I will ever investigate, but you never know.
Stevenson, F. and Steed, J. (2012) Basics textile design: Sourcing ideas: Researching textures, colors, structures, surfaces and patterns. Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA.
http://www.ifmachines.com/products_faqs.html (Accessed: 12 October 2016)
http://www.lighting.philips.co.uk/products/luminous-textile (Accessed: 12 October 2016).
http://www.maggieorth.com/ (Accessed: 12 October 2016).
http://www.malinbobeck.se/ (Accessed: 12 October 2016).
https://startupfashion.com/led-textiles/ (Accessed: 12 October 2016).