Abstract

Programmable knitting presents a new class of behaving textiles, responsive to environmental stimuli and programmed to change in shape as humidity levels in the environment increase. It is a hierarchical system that exploits the inherent functionality of textile fibres, yarns and fabrics to integrate shape change behaviour into the intrinsic structure of the material. The research applies a biomimicry methodology, with insight derived from the structural organisation of plant materials; specifically, the control of hygromorphic actuation for seed dispersal. This biological model has produced transferable principles for application to responsive textiles and it has been critical to the success of the research. But how can this research advance thinking on the design potential of programmable materials? This paper explores how the complex hierarchies that exist within textiles can be used to engineer a unique class of programmable systems. This challenges conventional smart interfaces that rely on mediated responses via electronic control. Instead this paper demonstrates how an alternative approach informed by biomimicry can generate a new class of smart-natural materials.

Keywords:

programmable materials, knitting, biomimicry, the responsive environment

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Responsive Knit: the evolution of a programmable material system

Programmable knitting presents a new class of behaving textiles, responsive to environmental stimuli and programmed to change in shape as humidity levels in the environment increase. It is a hierarchical system that exploits the inherent functionality of textile fibres, yarns and fabrics to integrate shape change behaviour into the intrinsic structure of the material. The research applies a biomimicry methodology, with insight derived from the structural organisation of plant materials; specifically, the control of hygromorphic actuation for seed dispersal. This biological model has produced transferable principles for application to responsive textiles and it has been critical to the success of the research. But how can this research advance thinking on the design potential of programmable materials? This paper explores how the complex hierarchies that exist within textiles can be used to engineer a unique class of programmable systems. This challenges conventional smart interfaces that rely on mediated responses via electronic control. Instead this paper demonstrates how an alternative approach informed by biomimicry can generate a new class of smart-natural materials.

 

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