MIT Instructions Take a DIY Guide to Fabric Based Sensors


DIY Tilt Sensor
Clothing with tech inside of it is the essence of cool, but it can be a little bit pricey if you want to have a whole wardrobe full. Unless, that is, you are ready to do it yourself. After all with a little bit of time, the right tools and some know how you can make a wide range of sensors for your clothing. Then you will never have to fork over $200 for a backpack with its own weather station inside of it again.

But what if you have the time, and the tools, but not the know how?

Lucky for you one intrepid pair of researchers at MIT have put out a guide to making your own sensors. The publication, which was co-authored by Hannah Perner-Wilson and Mika Satomi, both Research Fellows at the Distance Lab at the time of the authoring, include a wide variety of sensors. The types of sensors listed in the paper include:

  • Pressure and Bend Sensors
  • Fabric Potentiometer
  • Tilt Sensor
  • Stroke Sensor

The paper goes into a lot of detail about the types of materials that one would need for the project, with materials ranging from Silver Plated Nylon 117/17 2ply conductive thread by Shieldex to Velostat, an anti-static carbon impregnated black polyethylene film that is made by 3M Corp. The projects have diagrams with the layers of the projects, instead of taking a step-by-step approach.

Admittedly, you will probably never be taking on the big projects in wearable tech on your own, but starting with the small stuff is a great way to get what you want and better understand the process behind your favorite smart clothing projects. Who knows you might just be making your own space suit or LED dress.