Project Update

by anasto

My plan is to make a dress with fabric origami panels that will be actuated with nitinol to create the illusion of breathing. I will make two panels for the front of the bodice of the dress. To add to the theme of respiration, I will add laser cut voronoi lace to the skirt of the dress to emulate the voronoi patterns of alveoli, which are hollow structures in lungs that allow for optimal gas exchange with their large surface areas.

I purchased fabric and a battery that will be appropriate for my project. I trained nitinol that I ordered from McMaster by wrapping nitinol wire around screws and heating them in the furnace to create spring shapes. I will use these nitinol springs to move my origami fabric pieces.

I experimented with cotton fabric and a starching process to create stiff fabric origami. First, I laser cut the origami pattern with dashed lines onto the fabric.

Then, I folded the fabric along the dashed lines and sewed the folds in place. I made my own starching solution by dissolving cornstarch in cold water, then adding boiling water. I dipped fabric in the solution and let it dry until barely damp. Then, I used an iron to press  folds in place and set the starching. I was satisfied with the result and will use this type of fabric and technique for my garment panels.

These are the remaining steps to complete my project:

  • Create the pattern for the dress and figure out appropriate dimensions for lace pieces and nitinol actuated panels.
  • Laser cut lace and origami pieces.
  • Stitch and starch origami pieces.
  • Cut and sew dress from the fabric I purchased.
  • Iron on lace pieces.
  • Add origami panels with circuitry.

I will complete the first three bullet points this week, and the last three bullet points next week.