Due: Mon, Feb 10, 5PM

Fabric combined with rigid materials (such as cardboard or wood or acrylic) can create robust flexure points, wearable structures, and highly dynamic shapes. Combining the fabric and stiff materials will allow you to exploit their contrasting qualities of flexibility and rigid strength.

For this exercise, we would like you to create one in-depth wearable sample with fabric and cardboard mechanisms that creates a radical response to an interaction with another person. Choose an interaction with a specific kind of movement. Use the movement of the interaction to be the basis for the response of your wearable. The response could be a direct, related response or it could be a more indirect, generalized change.

Your fabric-cardboard sample can use any of the discoveries or techniques you have developed or learned in class thus far. The response should create a change transforming the wearer in a significant way. Play with the materials and build off of the basic movement of the interaction.

You may also use other materials such as the dowels, zip ties, tape, string, etc.


Please create a short post on the course site with the following:

  1. One short video clip showing the movement of the mechanism. The video should be embedded for direct viewing.
  2. A brief paragraph outlining your explorations: intended effect, surprises, discoveries, successes.


Please remember that ‘interaction’ can include any sort of two-person activity. This can mean social gestures (e.g. a handshake) but also cooperative tasks (e.g. picking something up together) or competitive tasks.

In a fabric mechanism, the fabric itself occupies a number of roles, including as a structural element in tension, as a flexure joint or hinge when folding, or as a loose or tight membrane interacting with air. It can form the visible surface or be bound into hidden structures. These functions may even all take place at different locations on the same swatch. It may help when laying out a mechanism pattern to consider the function at each point. So if creating a hinge, it will be most free if the entire folding line is kept flexible. If creating a rigid element, consider how the fabric tension balances the compression of the cardboard it enfolds.

The mechanisms themselves occupy several roles, including constraining movement, redirecting and transmitting movement, and scaling or duplicating movement.


Below are the criteria we will be using to assess your assignment. As you are exploring the possibilities for this assignment, keep these criteria in your focus:

  1. Stay open and go with your discoveries. We are most interested in seeing what you discover that is engaging and is working, not simply an implementation of an idea you have predetermined. For example, you may be trying to execute a specific idea, but along the way you discover something that is much more engaging or works more smoothly than your original idea. Put aside the original plan and go with the new discovery that is actually working.
  2. Experimentation and creative exploration is more important than refinement. The purpose of this assignment is for you to use your time trying multiple experiments and ideas, rather than perfecting only a few. Your resulting experiments need to work but do not need to be highly refined. Develop your experiments enough so that they are convincing and understandable, but not so much that you get stuck in the details of perfect construction. For now, accept that you are using temporary materials to create your experiments (tape, zip ties, etc.) and that there will still be room for further refinement.
  3. Make clear documentation. Your online documentation will be how we experience many of your assignments. It is very important that your documentation clearly communicates your projects. Tips: Remove distracting items from the background; make sure your camera is in focus and your lens is clean; use a tripod or other support to stabilize your camera; if you are shooting video, orient your camera in the landscape (horizontal) format; make sure your project is well lit and without distracting shadows.