A few of us at Adafruit have been following THEUNSEEN, a label headed up by Lauren Bowker which reminds me of a cross between Merlin and The Craft. One of my last posts was raving about their intricate air sensitive color changing coat. This time I’m in love with their undercover oil-spill sheened fashion Articles. I say undercover because this work is also using special inks that react differently to environmental conditions. For instance, this clutch uses thermochromatic ink which reacts to touch.
This backpack reacts to changes in air pressure, which is more unusual and a specialization for the this eclectic house. After some investigation, my guess is that this may be piezochromatic ink, which is tasked with responding to change in pressure. Some industrial uses of this ink include coated packaging so you know when a product has been mishandled in shipping, or coating the front of an airplane for safety testing, so if there are any strikes on the nose the impact stays imprinted.
This burnout scarf reminds me of the woven look of the coat I last posted about. This silk design has also been treated with a chromatic ink that reacts to movement. Movement suggests air pressure again, yet this could have easily gone the way of thermochromatic ink and just responded to different areas of heat on the body. Whatever the chemistry, it is subtle like a snakeskin.
This purse is probably my favorite piece of the Articles as the round motif suggests our planet. The thermochromatic ink in the center has been created to change color for different seasons. THEUNSEEN may play with the notion of magic in their work, but working with these inks really does allow for magic because some of them contain the aspect of memory. So, it’s much like programming a microcontroller with a sensor, only here you are choosing to match a temperature with a color, as well as a color you wish to revert back to. Science is just so cool. You should definitely check out THEUNSEEN’s site to see their phone cases, cuffs and wallets. Each of them uses the unique ink process which allows you to feel a connection to the environment. As I mentioned, working with these special inks is expensive. However, we do have a magical ink that is affordable for you to try—Bare Conductive Paint. Use it on paper, fabric or another art project to create a circuit. Although this picture shows the jar, there is also a smaller pen available. I just prefer the jar because a paintbrush allows for a neater look than the pen tip. Anyway, have fun creating beeping and blinking holiday cards or origami robots. Working with conductive paint is another gate to the world of soft circuits.
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