Thesis: Prototype Test_Starting Baby Step

At first, I wanted to create a dress form using thermochromic ink connected to soft circuits and Arduino. However, I realized that thermochromic pigments are not easy to integrate into a wearable garment because they need a lot of voltage (over 18V) to heat up large areas of a paper. The ink normally requires a temperature of 33 degrees Celsius to activate. So, if the ink is set up on a human’s body, they might be dangerous or unsafe to a person who wears the piece. But, the most interesting part is that the thermo ink can draw dramatic effects or lyrical expressions like traditional paintings.

First of all, I tested out the thread lengths according to the power. I painted thermo ink on paper and attached conductive thread on the backside of paper. If it had around a 9volts battery power, then the ink disappeared up to 25inches. When it was connected to two batteries over 16volts, then the ink receded up to 36inches.

How could I create a large surfaced garment? The thermo inks on a paper garment need a lot power to heat up and finally would burn up. I found a solution, which makes a thermo paper on small pieces of chip boards.

I made 10copies of the heating circuits for lower power and longer threads. 

Heating Circuits (Transistor TIP120, Resister 100K-Ohm, Resister 100Ohm, Diode IN4148, Copper Tape)

I focused on small shapes and the idea of decalcomania popped up.

Then, I did laser cutting using chipboards and painted on them. The shapes came from skeleton, natural & organic forms.

I set up chipboard on a dress form. I painted 4 different colors on thin papers. (Later, I fixed a bit on different colors because audiences could not see the color changes well.)

On the first layer, I painted on normal acrylic colors and on the second layer, I covered thermo ink. When heating up, the bottom layer showed up. When Cooling down, the thermo ink covers the normal acrylic ink again.

I taped conductive threads on a paper as condensing coil style and inserted circuits on the backside of feathers.

I tested out the blink example on Arduino. For heating up, the ink needed twenty seconds at least and for cooling down, they took thirty seconds at least. Even though it took a while, I thought that the pigments expressed warmer and more dramatic emotions than LEDs for sure.

The threshold of the Neurosky was 50. If the number goes above 50 with the electric current, the colors show up black to bright ones. If cooling down, they were covered by black thermo ink again.