Carol Moukheiber, Christos Marcopoulos, Rodolphe el-Khoury. Contributors Valentina Mele, Sebastian Savone, Yie Ping See, Jonah Ross Marrs, Samar Sabie, Dina Sabie

Posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 at 6:00 pm

IM BLANKY is a self modeling blanket exhibiting primitive cognitive capacities.

IM BLANKY is a self-positioning and representing blanket. Its ability to know and represent its state in time and position in space approximates the most primitive and essential form of cognition, the awareness of one’s own body. By draping it over an object the blanket reproduces digitally and in real time that which it covers. This ability constitutes a foundation for multiple functionalities employing myriad sensing capacities that may be implemented in future generations of the e-blanket.

The project takes on the techniques and figurative traditions of embroidery, by stitching an array of soft and hard sensors with conductive threads onto a base fabric.The electronic components and their circuits constitute figurative patterns: decorative by-products of their functional logic. When arrayed in larger configurations they yield complex designs that echo traditional themes of embroidery, vegetal and animal such as flowers, butterflies and other natural morphologies.

The (soft) Hardware
The blanket measures 7’7” x 4’2” and is composed of a distributed field of 104 soft tilt sensors. These familiar soft sensors form the most basic motif: the flower. The flower consists of 6 conductive petals, linked by resistors, and a conductive tassel in the center. The flowers are grouped together into 14 larger configurations or clusters and 2 half clusters. Working as a directional marker, the tassel’s contact with a petal registers a specific orientation or tilt of the blanket. The flowers are arrayed around the circular double power circuit, and their stems plug into a computational hub (Multiplexer). The clusters are then linked together, into a larger network of clusters, each relaying the position of its flowers to a micro-controller stitched to the back of the blanket. (Arduino LilyPad)

The Software
The distribution of sensors is based on an underlying hexagonal structure. Each flower occupies a hexagonal cell, surrounded by six neighbors. As the software receives directional (N,S,E,W) input from a cell, it is able to reconstruct a slope based on the position of that cell and its immediate neighbors, generating essentially a surface of peaks and valleys. (Processing)

IM BLANKY was conceived as part of a submission for the exhibition STICHES Suzhou Fast Forward, organized by WORKshop in Toronto, and curated by Larry Richards. The show explores modern digital processes in relation to the traditional craft of Chinese embroidery. 

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  • Lgguts

    Hi! Incredible project, congratulations!
    I’m developing a similar interface, using accelerometers and Lilypad Arduino, at my ongoing graduation project (

    I was wondering if there is any open code or more information about how the setup of this project works. I’ve wanted to do something similar then this – however due to my current knowledge at electronics, I’m developing a much smaller and simplier work.

    Thank you!

    Luiz Gustavo.

  • Lorraine Penner

    This looks like a nightmare for electrosensitive people. Don’t people remember that even electric blankets cause miscarriages and other health problems? What would be the power density of the wireless transmitters? How would having this against a person’s body affect body voltage? What kind of safety testing is planned? Using it for elderly or disabled persons who may be non-verbal or unable to articulate the negative effects they experience would be kind of abusive.

  • smb

    First of all, the power of a system like this (powered by an arduino) is very low, which would have no noticeable affect on the body. But that’s a moot point, since the intent here is an experiment to create an object that maps shapes 3-dimensionally in a new way. It is not going to be used for old people…..

  • 1d1ocracy

    “Don’t people remember that even electric blankets cause miscarriages and other health problems?”  More than likely they remembered it was the heat that caused the miscarriages, not the current in the blanket itself.   The effects of this device would be far less than standing next to your microwave.

  • Sean Ragan

    Lorraine, I don’t doubt the validity of the experiences of those who report electrosensitivity, but until the condition is demonstrated and explained scientifically, I think the burden of protecting electrosensitives from exposure has to be on the electrosensitives, themselves.  I think that “an unusual allergy” would be the right metaphor.  Foods must be correctly labelled as to their contents, so that everyone has accurate information and can decide for him or herself, based on his or her knowledge of his or her own body, if it will be safe / pleasant for him or her to eat.  Likewise, devices that generate electrical fields should clearly indicate that fact, so that electrosensitives can avoid them if they choose.  But to propose that extraordinary safety testing should be required is completely untenable, not least of all because no one has figured out how to scientifically detect an electrosensitive reaction in a human being yet. 

  • Digital Embroidery

    Your child years blanky might have been able to carry off the bogeyman but was it sensible enough to help recognize a getting to sleep disorder?

  • Jim

    Why aren’t we seeing an image of this thing at work?  Dubious….

  • http://%/tisssnp9 Ruben

    myeloid@conceptuality.pinhead” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!…

  • http://%/pfknpheb7 Shaun

    keiths@stamping.infantile” rel=”nofollow”>.…


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