Sound of Textile

A tactile-audio interactive installation

Sound of Textile

Textiles communicate with Humans by their innate tactile qualities. They show a number of characteristics, which can be utilized specifically to convey information, such as whether or not objects are supposed to be touched. By going beyond natural affordances and augmenting them with additional capabilities, we open the door for novel applications and interaction techniques in the sphere of smart and interactive textiles, which is affecting HCI in both science/technology and the arts.

Humans tend to touch surfaces out of curiosity about their tactile properties and persist in case of a pleasant response. An example is petting a cat. It looks pleasant to touch and when the cat’s response is positive (by purring) and a causal relation to the interaction is obvious, the interaction carries on. This connection is also true for the opposite, as rejecting feedback is uninviting. Inspired by observations like these, the installation The Sound of Textile links textiles’ haptic properties to sound, in order to engage with the visitor and generate an effect similar to synesthesia.

The installation demonstrates seven textiles with unique tactile properties and according sonic experiences. The objective is to explore humans’ reaction to different features and their combinations.

In our ongoing research into textile based sensing, we explore different ways of functionalizing materials (through textile manufacturing and finishing but also by means of chemical treatment). As part of our artistic research, we focus on subliminal aspects communicated by different sensations that can guide humans’ behaviour in interaction and utilization in the fields of HCI.