Within the TextileUX research project, we are investigating capacitive sensing on textile basis. With TexYZ we demonstrate a method for creating touch sensor matrices by embroidering Elektrisola Textile Wire on the backside of common fabrics. When including the strength of touch as a Z-axis, the user is able to interact along three degrees of freedom. The major advantage over existing solutions like Google Jacquard is that TexYZ uses mutual capacitive sensing and is therefore capable of true multitouch, without showing any ghosting effects. The material is 100% textile based and all materials are publicly available. The manufacturing method is described in detail in the paper and is easy to reproduce using a commodity embroidery machine.
TexYZ enables high precision and can be created with resolutions even beyond commonly used touch devices. We evaluated several patterns which generate textile capacitors of different quality and compared the resulting sensor matrices. We show that by embroidering enameled wire in specific patterns, it is possible to considerably increase the ratio of electrode length and distance, yielding higher capacitance at constant sensor size. This also enables downsizing the sensor matrices, for creating higher resolutions fields, without sacrificing sensing quality.
We show a number of improvised demo applications, including an interactive wristband for a Smartwatch, to avoid occlusion problems which are common on small-display devices.