ZHA and the CREATIF team create smart fabric with interactive light and sound control

Driven by the creation of digital tools to facilitate the design and production of smart fabrics, the CREATIF research project couples intuitive design tools with advanced printing technologies.

The team is a consortium of four technical and research based partners (Ardeje, Grafixoft, Institut für Textiltechnik Aachen and University of Southampton) and three creative partners (Base Structures, Diffus Design and Zaha Hadid Architects).

Funded by the EU´s Seventh Framework Programme, this research aims to enable users to design, visualise, simulate and produce smart fabrics by printing active electronic materials such as touch sensors and lighting alongside images and graphic designs – converting fabrics into interactive surfaces.

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Recently developed fabric-compatible functional inks and printing techniques are enabling the realisation of the designs emerging from CREATIF’s collaborative tools. These tools simplify the methods to create smart fabrics, and remove barriers to access this technology by significantly reducing the complexity of the process and the skills required.

Advanced smart fabric prototypes with interactive light and sound control have been created integrating coloured ink and smart ink within a 3m wide poster – currently the world’s largest printed smart fabric. This prototype demonstrates the large-format printer’s capability to print proximity sensors which control the intensity of sound and light emitted from an adjacent cube. The activation sensitivity of the printed sensors is adaptable using the software developed by the CREATIF team.

The 3m printed smart fabric prototype poster with interactive light and sound control is on display at the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery throughout the London Festival of Architecture until 30 June.

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