Posch, I. (2021). Handcrafting the Digital : Inquiring and intervening into tools for electronic textile crafts [Dissertation, Technische Universität Wien]. reposiTUm. https://doi.org/10.34726/hss.2021.91822
E193 - Institut für Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology
Number of Pages:
eTextiles; Smart Textiles; Wearable Technology; Ubiquitous Computing; Human-Computer-Interaction; Design; Research Through Design; Tools; Toolkit
Smart and electronic Textiles (eTextiles) research and development significantly advanced over the past 20 years. Starting from academic explorations, this emergent area of interactive technology design is increasingly becoming a part of education, art, industrial, and commercial developments, weaving into the material cultures that surround us. However, the tools used in electronic textile making practices have rarely been investigated. This thesis addresses this gap. This thesis is an inquiry into how a more integrated electronic textile craft practice can be developed through its tools: What role do tools have within an emerging eTextile practice? How might tools specific to an integrated electronic textile craft practice look? What insights can be gained from reflecting making and using them? Answering these questions is initially motivated and informed by the author’s personal eTextile practice. The research investigates current tool kits available in the field as the starting point to a Research through Design approach of building tool interventions that are critical towards the status quo. Resulting new tools aim at explicitly foregrounding textile crafts and associated values, materials, and skills as contributing to the fabrication of electronic and digital artefacts. Once developed into research products, the tools are proposed to eTextile practitioners as well as novices for evaluation. Resulting, this dissertation work makes three contributions to the field of electronic textiles and technology creation, and hybrid electronic practices within the wider field of human- computer-interaction (HCI): a practical contribution of designing, building and distributing new tools, empirical insight into use of the tools, and a theoretical discussion about the availability of tools for an emerging discipline; tools not only guide habits of making but also are formative to the understanding of a practice and a field. The form and function of tools matter for the skills, processes, uses, and users, ultimately prescribing the technologies that surround us.
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