, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 133-150
Date: 22 Aug 2007

Fabric PCBs, electronic sequins, and socket buttons: techniques for e-textile craft

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Abstract

The blossoming research field of electronic textiles (or e-textiles) seeks to integrate ubiquitous electronic and computational elements into fabric. This paper concerns one of the most challenging aspects of the design and construction of e-textile prototypes: namely, engineering the attachment of traditional hardware components to textiles. We present three new techniques for attaching off-the-shelf electrical hardware to e-textiles: (a) the design of fabric PCBs or iron-on circuits to attach electronics directly to a fabric substrate; (b) the use of electronic sequins to create wearable displays and other artifacts; and (c) the use of socket buttons to facilitate connecting pluggable devices to textiles. In this work we have focused on using easily obtained materials and developing user-friendly techniques; our aim is to develop methods that will make e-textile technology available to crafters, students, and hobbyists. This paper describes the techniques and employs them as a springboard for a wider-ranging discussion of “e-textile craft”.