Conductive Yarn Controls Machines With Strokes, Stretches And Squeezes

Conductive Yarn Controls Machines With Strokes, Stretches And Squeezes

This knit-based machine interface can make orange juice, turn on lights and more.

Tiffany Nesbit
  • 24 june 2014

There is a kind of a yarn that is made of 80% polyester and 20% stainless steel. It is a commonly used for wearable tech and touch-screen gloves, despite the fact that yarn has a distinctly old-school feel. Keeping that in mind, for his senior project at London’s Royal College of Art, artist Yen Chen Chang set out to change and expand the way we use yarn in technology. He used conductive yarns and threads to form tactile interfaces that control electronics and machines in a very unique way.


Born in Taiwan, Chang has long been interested in how materials, craft and technology come together to influence design. He combines these interests in his innovative projects which include the Squeezy Juicer, Touch of a Breeze, and the Tension Lamp.

Each of these projects are powered by the conductive yarn when it is stroked, stretched, and squeezed. The Squeezy Juicer has a large knit ball that when squeezed turns on a orange juicer. Touch of a Breeze is a fan that begins spinning when a yarn mat is stroked, and the Tension Lamp turns on when a knit handle is stretched.

According to Dezeen, Chang said the goal of the project is to reimagine how electronics might function if a different sensing technology were integrated into them, and it is clear that in that he has succeeded.


These conductive textiles could be the beginning of a feasible alternative to standard interfaces. Also, we love their fun, wistful and cozy aesthetic.

Yen Chen Chang


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