This week I attended "Digital Toolmaking: Implication of a Desktop Jacquard Loom", an Eyebeam Lecture by Pamela Liou at the NYU MAGNET Lecture Hall. She discussed her work building and designing Doti, an open source desktop jacquard loom.
I was really interested in seeing her process. She discussed her research developing a "catalog of actuators", testing a variety of motor and mechanisms for raising and lowering the individual threads. She analyzed each part of the loom searching for affordable, accessible options. As the project develops she looks forward to making the plans available to the public to build, personalize and contribute.
Towards the end of her talk the discussion turned toward the implications of working in the open source space. Her consumers are also producers. Someone with this loom can design and produce for their self, but can also begin to distribute and create their own small business. Though hers goal is accessibility, she is concerned with being able to attract a diverse group of contributors. Generally, relying on people to openly contribute means relying on a homogenous group of people who have the privilege of leisure time. She is looking into combating this by developing an incentivized system. It will still be a while before she'll release Doti into the wild, but she is looking to find the right means for distribution.
After several weeks of studying weaving, I wanted to start bringing conductive materials into my textiles. I tried two rows of conductive thread, and two rows of conductive fiber combined with roving. Both were really easy to work with. I would like to spend more time designing a circuit for the loom.