Hannah Perner-Wilson

Hannah Perner-Wilson explores the electrical properties of materials and traditional and contemporary craft techniques, developing new techniques for building electronics that emphasize materiality and process. She believes that this will allow us to build electronics that are more diverse, understandable and expressive than electronics currently are. Through creating examples, giving workshops and publishing online documentation her hope is to disseminate this approach and demonstrate how we can engage with electronics in new ways.

Since 2006 she's collaborated with Mika Satomi, forming the collective KOBAKANT. In 2009, as research fellows at the Distance Lab in Scotland, KOBAKANT published an online database for sharing their DIY wearable technology approach titled How To Get What You Want. In 2011 Hannah graduated with a Masters degree in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab, where she was a student in the High-Low Tech research group lead by Leah Buechley. Her thesis work focused on developing, documenting and disseminating a Kit-of-No-Parts approach to building electronics. She holds a Bachelor degree in Industrial Design from the University for Art and Industrial Design Linz, Austria.

Session: The More I Make, The More I Wonder Why

As much as making is a means of producing goods and sharing ideas, it's also a way for me to think things through. For the past 10 years I've been developing, documenting and sharing electronic textile techniques. This process has not only lead to the realization of interactive and wearable projects but also to the uncovering of my underlying motivations. I'd like to take this talk as an opportunity to trace these motivations through my work. They include: The Least Likely Scenario, Liberating Circuits, Making as a means of exploring, How To Get What You Want, Traces with Origin and A Kit-of-No-Parts.

Workshop: E-Textile Tooling


Electronic Textiles (E-Textiles) combine traditional textile materials, tools and techniques with electrical engineering practices. These processes often require a mixed set of tools from both disciples in order to work material into it's final textile form while knowing about it's electrical properties.

This workshop will be an introduction to e-textiles with an emphasis on the tools and processes used to create them. Participants will start by each assembling a hybrid hand tool for textile manipulation that has the functionality to measure electrical resistance built in. For example a crochet hook that doubles as an Ohm meter, indicating when you've reached a set electrical resistance between two points on the piece of conductive crochet you're creating. With the assembled tools in hand, we will draw upon the "How To Get What You Want" textile sensor library to create a selection of textile sensors from a range of conductive, resistive and piezoresistive materials.

The content of this workshop should be interesting for beginners as well as those with experience in either textiles or electronics, or both. For beginners in electronics this workshop will demonstrate the relationship between Voltage, Current and Resistance (Ohm's Law) in a very hands-on way. For beginners in textiles this workshop will show you how to create and tailor a variety of textile sensors to your needs. And for those who already have experience working in e-textiles this workshop can be an opportunity to discuss the possibility of creating tools that support our practice.

Tools We Want
Ohm Hook
How To Get What You Want
A Kit-of-No-Parts

SKILL LEVEL: Intro/Intermediate/Advanced

• Introduction to electronic textiles - materials, tools and techniques.
• Assemble a custom tool to measure/visualize/sonify electrical resistance.
• Use the tool to explore a range of conductive, resistive and piezoresistive materials and to work these into a selection of textile sensors, for example: crochet pressure sensor, knit stretch sensor, beaded tilt sensor, stitched stroke sensor, layered bend sensor, embroidered potentiometer....
• Opportunity to hack/modify/improve the tools that were made in the workshop.
• Demonstration that shows how the analog values of these textile sensors can be read into a computer using an Arduino.
• Discussion on tools, techniques and processes for working with electronic textiles.

• A laptop computer
• Please come with Arduino software installed
• Please come with Processing installed