From the idea to the prototype with the help of open design


At the end of July I spent a week at Supsi with Massimo Banzi and around 20 participants at the Physical & Wearable computing with Arduino summer school.

The focus of the course was on the design and prototyping of digitally fabricated interactive objects. It was the first time I was working with Massimo and some weeks before I shared with him the approach I had in mind.

Usually, wearable technology workshops start from ready-made garments or accessories. Old gloves and t-shirts, cheap belts or jackets are “decorated” with technology.
I wanted to experiment a different point of view.
I would have brought some rough prototypes of wearable accessories made of felt and produced with a lasercut.

I prepared the files during the previous months with the help of professional tailor Nadia – who knows much about measures and fit, and Vectorealism, my partners at Wefab – who gave me direct access to the lasercut to prepare the first drafts.

I wanted to present these drafts to the students so they could have an idea of what it meant to use felt with a lasercut and allow them to get inspired touching, wearing and exploring some real examples.

The workshop didn’t require any knowledge in fashion design or sewing, and when you don’t know anything about a topic is pretty hard to be creative especially when you have, at the same time, to deal with leds, sensors and programming.

That’s why I thought it would be useful to start from some Open Design, to “copy” from a series of ready-made that could be easily adapted to the different necessities of a wearable interaction and, in a way, adapt their shape to it.

I explained the students that at the end of the week those prototypes would have become a package and released with a Creative Commons License on Thingiverse and if they come up with any new idea, it could be added to the collection.

thingiverse openwear

And after days of designing, cutting and even sewing here’s the result: “Lasercut Wearable Prototype Collection – Felt Edition” is now available on Thingiverse and you can download it and prod/use it yourself!

Lasercut Wearable Prototypes Collection - Felt Edition

I’m sure that there are many other accessories that could be added to this initial collection, so if you want to collaborate you can create derivatives directly on Thingiverse, join our OpenwearShare flickr group or contact me directly on twitter ( @openwear_cc ) in case you want to add some new items.

A special mention goes to Thomas Amberg who created a cool project to help a friend and used the Modular Belt as a base for it. You can read the documentation of his project here: balanceshirt.tumblr.com.
And a second mention goes to the team of students who worked at the FrogBike Back and accepted to release it within the collection!

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