This High Tech Ensemble Can Alert You Through Embroidery @MToeters #WearableWednesday


Smartwatches and phones rely on vibration motors to give alerts. However, designer Marina Toeters and Loe Feijs of Eindhoven University of Technology have created an outfit that uses embroidery for alerts. The ensemble is called Pied de Pulse which is a play on the outfit’s vibration, as well as its algorithm based embroidery. Here’s the description of the project.

The Pied de Pulse project has two aims. The first is to study and implement a fractal-like structure of circles inspired by Apollonian circles, combined with a pied de poule (houndstooth). The second aim is to push the integration of electric actuators in garments, using the power of algorithmic design and digital manufacturing.

It may be hard to tell in the video, but the three copper colored circles within the embroidery are made with conductive thread, and with the help of magnets and an Arduino they can be triggered to create vibration. You may have also seen this technique used to DIY a simple speaker, which is also exciting. This design works well in wearables, not only because it is flat and more comfortable to the skin, but also because it is easier to install in the manufacturing process.


The embroidery sections were created using a PR655 machine and contain 70,000 stitches. They have an organic feel, yet they are also structured, which I love.

The embroidered pattern is a synthesis of a growth algorithm to create a semi-random circle packing and the pied de poule fashion pattern  (houndstooth). The circles are packed inside a pied de poule figure. The mathematics of pied de poule is based on both Heesch Kienzle theory and a turtle graphics description.

If you want more details, check out the duo’s paper submitted for the Bridges Finland Conference Proceedings. If you are looking for your own project that offers good vibrations, check out our tutorial for the Buzzing Mindfulness Bracelet. It stars our small GEMMA microcontroller, a vibration motor and a few small parts that you can handle. It also has a great craft component working with leather or bicycle tubing to create the cuff. Get started in wearables and learn how to be in the moment.

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