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Future Tech: 

High-tech yarn to control our devices and instruments?

smart-yarn

Could high-tech yarn be the newest development in wearable technology?

Royal College of Art (RCA) student Yen Chen Chang is at the forefront of the movement with his newest invention that uses conductive yarn to control other electronic components. He has even wired the the device so that it becomes a wearable musical instrument, namely a guitar and piano. Guitar hero glove, anyone?

How does it work?

The yarn is made up of 80 per cent polyester and 20 per cent stainless steel, giving the ability to intelligently control electronic components.

When the material is pulled or rubbed, the steel component experiences a change in conductivity and these differences are measured by an Arduino board and thus conveyed to the particular device

This isn’t the first venture headed up by the RCA student, who has taken it upon himself to create a number of similar, yarn-controlled devices.

Click here to see exactly how the ‘Squeezy Juicer’ works

Screen Shot 'Squeeze' video

His ‘Squeezy Juicer’ invention comprises a huge ball of the high-tech yarn, which is connected to the juicer. When the ball of yarn is squeezed, the juicer is powered up, and the level of power is equivalent to the pressure of the squeeze.

The ‘Tension Lamp’ features a woven rope connected to an Arduino micro-controller which when pulled on, dims the lamp as the voltage changes.

And finally, ‘The Touch of a Breeze’, a carpet made from the conductive yarn, which controls a fan. Chang says that by stroking the carpet harder, the strength of the breeze increases in an effort to create a feeling of grass and light wind.

As for the future, Chang wants to bring his style of wearables into the clothing industry, saying, “There are some well-known sportswear companies that produce knitted footwear and it would be exciting to develop wearable technologies with them.”

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