Can e-textiles change the way we communicate?

Can e-textiles change the way we communicate?


I literally felt like I needed to give people
a voice and this is the voice I gave them. The Zippy Tablecloth, it’s a device that I
designed for myself for helping with focus groups, I was working with a group of people
with visual impairments and so the device I wanted to make needed to have haptic input.
The way it works is that I will ask a question and the question will have a scale answer
and then the way they answer it is they take one of the zips that’s in front of them and
they move it depending on whether they strongly disagree, disagree, strongly agree and then
once everyone hass done that silently on their own we’ll press a button and each of the positions
of those zips will be turned into a tone like this. Three people were in agreement, three
of those tones sounded quite similar, but one of the other tones sounded much lower
than the other ones and that means that everyone around the table regardless of their sight
level can tell just how much agreement there is around the table and how much disagreement
there is and it means that I as the interviewer can ensure that whoever is in the minority
like that person with the low tone has a chance to express themselves before everyone else
has said what they think. The thing I’m really excited and interested by when thinking about
e-textiles is the fact that it’s not a familiar interaction for us. Many of us are very used
to pressing buttons, clicking mice, even touching screens but the idea of interacting with things
that are flexible and flimsy and moveable, it’s really interesting to know just how people
want to touch these things and what they expect them to do because it’s not well defined at
this point in time, so it’s a really exciting and new area.

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