Contributors: Kate Hartman, Alexis Knipping, Boris Kourtoukov, Izzie Colpitts-Campbell, Erin Lewis
Partners: Jamie Sherman, Intel
Keywords: wearable, kinetic
Tools: Arduino, EMG, digital fabric printing
Monarch is a wearable and muscle-activated kinetic textile. It consists of textile forms attached to the shoulders that expand and contract in response to the movement of the wearer’s muscles. By physically extending natural body language, Monarch explores how wearable technologies can be used as a form of personal expression, as well as how and when they can begin to feel like a visceral extension of self.
The first version of Monarch was created as part of the Prosthetic Technologies of Being project, a collaboration between the Social Body Lab at OCAD University and Jamie Sherman, funded by Intel Research. Version 2 includes revisions to the hardware, mechanics, design, and styling so that it is better able to be worn in everyday life.
The second version was adjusted in order to be more comfortable to wear and to be more technically stable to allow for sustained use of the Monarch.
In designing the harness and pleated structure we took in to account personalization. With a much reduced leather base to house the electronics we set out to make a run of six Monarchs, one personalized to each member of the Social Body Lab. Each is personalized in, leather colour and surface design, wing coverings, as well as, interior colouring and pattern. This personalization was enabled through our use of digital fabrication such as digitally printed textiles and laser cut leather.
Should you feel your current wings are ill-suited for an occasion, the new design allows for each wing to be removed and replaced with an alternate pair.
The Monarch board was consolidated into one printed circuit board to ensure solid connections when worn on the boady as well as to diminish the overall space taken by the electrical components on the harness.
The monarch’s servo mount was made and printed so as to simplify the mechanics of moving the Monarch wings and reduce strain on the servo.
- Wired to Wear, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. Opens March 2019. https://www.msichicago.org/explore/whats-here/exhibits/wired-to-wear/
- Making Patterns, Eyebeam Gallery, New York. 2015. https://www.eyebeam.org/events/making-patterns/
- ISEA 2015, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver (link)
- FASHIONOTES x WEARABLES, Fashion Week, Toronto. 2014. http://www.fashionotes.com/content/2014/10/fashionotes-x-wearables-event-re-cap/
- Electric Runway, Maker Festival, Toronto. 2015. https://electricrunway.com/press-electric-runways-launch-party/
Hartman, Kate, et al. “Monarch: Self-Expression Through Wearable Kinetic Textiles.” Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, ACM, 2015, pp. 413–414. ACM Digital Library, doi:10.1145/2677199.2690875.