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Leyla is an interactive Niqab that reveals facials expressions on textile recreating the movement of facial muscles involved in smile and frown. The project was created by Patrizia Sciglitano and sent to us through our blog submission form. We got in touch with her to know more about it.

How come you started working at this project?

I started my BA graduation project in February 2012. I’m not Muslim but I’ve always lived in environment influenced by Islamic culture and I’ve been fascinated by it. Some months ago I participated to  a workshop in Prato about Wearable Technology with Riccardo Marchesi of Plug&Wear and I started to understand this new technology and to have real answers to my questions.

Leyla - schema circuito

How does it work?
Leyla’s circuit is composed by two facial-muscle sensors detecting micro-facial movements. The Arduino Lilypad receives data from them and sends the processed information to the Nitinol wires (muscle wires)  that are sewn into the fabric,  creating curls of the expressions hidden under the veil.

Leyla - inside

Have you got yet any reactions from girls wearing the veil?

I kept working on my research project while attending an association for non-EU women in my city, organized by a Muslim friend of mine since childhood. I met several women there, both young and old who’ve helped me understanding better their culture.  I explained the project to them and from the very first concept ideas I received a positive feedback.
Not very often designers create accessories suited for their necessities and thorough this object they could gain more “emotional communication” capabilities while maintaining their decency and this new opportunity  made them very happy.
They were both intrigued by the new technology I showed them (muscle Wires), and on how I was materializing my new idea of communication. Muslim women thought that my idea was very cool. It was a chance to give voice to a new way of communicating their emotions without needing to “undress”.

Until now I haven’t had the chance to test “Leyla” in Saudi Arabia, although I would love to do it in the future. Thanks to a friend of mine, however, I had the chance to show “Leyla” to some women wearing the Niqab staying in Istanbul for Erasmus program: they even asked me if I was selling it!


In the video and picture below you can see  the result, from left to right: Relaxed muscle – Contracted muscle: smile – Relaxed muscle – Contracted muscle: anger.

Leyla - expressions


Some notes from the Smart Textiles Salon

events, Exhibition, salon, smart textile, Wearable Computing, Wearables Commenti disabilitati su Some notes from the Smart Textiles Salon 

smart textile salon

Smart Textiles Salon was the last event of the Smart Textiles Week organized by the Textile department of the University of Ghent in the beautiful town of Ghent, in Belgium at the beginning of June:

Smart Textiles Salon is an attempt to bring topical research in the field of Smart Textiles to the stage and showcase it to the world. We wanted to make clear that Smart Textiles are not only existing in research projects, but that the potential for market introduction is huge already today. This should be recognized and taken to the next level.

Our friends Riccardo Marchesi (Inntex and Plug&wear) and Giulia Tomasello (Ruah project), took part to the event and sent us a short report  highlighting with words and pictures some cool projects they encountered during the days at the Salon.

The Smart Textiles Week started with a three-day workshop during which prof. Lieva Van Langenhove (part of the organizing committee) and her staff illustrated the latest technologies and achievements in this field of research. There was also a practical workshop, during which participants challenged themselves to assemble a soft fabric circuit.

At Smart Textiles Salon, part of the Systex European action to demonstrate the potential of smart textiles, 70 people from major Universities, Research Labs, design studios and companies, met to show their prototypes and to discuss about their new achievements, each of them being textile-based or compatible with intelligent textile systems.

The following is a list of selected design-oriented projects that brought us  to your attention:

- UNLACE, by Eef Lubbers from TU/e, winner of the Systex Student Award 2012, is an interactive lace lingerie garment that allows partners to connect by becoming more aware of touch, time and warmth.

STS-Unlace - Lubbers

- Soft/Mesh, by Olga Sjöroos and Jussi Mikkonen, from Aalto University, that created 3D printed structure as a relatively equal subsitute to a fabric.

STS- Soft/Mesh

- PeR+ by Eva Deckers, from TU/e, that developed an interactive and intelligent carpet, sensitive to the activity of the person.

STS Per+ Eva Decker

- Strokes&Dots, by Valérie Lamontagne, that introduced her line of smart garments designed to be DIY-assembled

STS - Strokes&Dots

- Your Balance, by Barbro Scholz, an interactive, textile jewelry with the inspiration taken from insects.

STS - Your Balance - Babro

- Baroesque Barometric Skirt, by Rain Ashford from Goldsmiths University of London, a skirt able to visualize environmental data collected from four sensors.


- Trasendense, by Galina Mihaleva, Nanyang Technological University, an interactive dress that communicates with its wearer by translating the body’s movement into a corresponding light pattern.

STS - Trasendense Galina Mihaleva

- Solar Fiber, by Marina Toeters and others, a flexible photovoltaic fiber able to transform sunlight energy into electrical energy.

STS SolarFiber Martina Toeters

You can have a look at more pictures on this flickr gallery.

Thanks to Giulia for the pictures and Riccardo for the text!

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