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While you might have never considered the idea, looms—especially the punchcard-driven Jacquard loom, which helped inform both Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage’s pioneering work—are an important part of computing history. As reported here, Victoria Manganiello and Julian Goldman have created an awe-inspiring ode to this computing heritage in the form of a handwoven tapestry that constantly changes the way it looks, aptly named “Computer 1.0.”

The tapestry, which was recently on display at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, stretches nine meters in length and features tubing woven throughout. An Arduino actuates pumps and valves to produce familiar patterns in this tubing with blue-dyed water and air.

These patterns soon become abstract and perhaps more open to interpretation, though with more development it’s noted that images and even smartphone-readable designs could be possible. 

Be sure to see the short demo of this incredible installation in the video below! 

A handwoven textile activated by computer code, Computer 1.0 explores connections between weaving and technology. For the project, Victoria Manganiello invited designer Julian Goldman to collaborate on designing and programming a pump controlled by Arduino microcomputers to move precise sequences of air and liquid through the approximately 2,000 feet of tubing woven through the cloth. The movement of the air and liquid evokes traditional weaving patterns such as bird’s eye, monk’s cloth, and twill. And the operating system—the computer and the pump—is not kept out of sight in the service of the woven screen and the pixelated patterns that run across it, but rather are an integral part of the work; nothing is hidden.


Manganiello’s textile reflects and expands on the ob­scured history of weaving and coding, calling attention to the “under-over, under-over” movement of thread becoming cloth that originally inspired the “zero-one-zero-one” of binary code. The jacquard loom of 1801, which used punch cards to program the movement of thread into increasingly complex woven patterns, is a direct, though frequently forgotten, ancestor of modern computers.

Batik is an ancient form of dyeing textiles in which hot wax is applied to a piece of cloth in some design. When the cloth is submerged in a dye bath, the parts covered with wax resist the pigment. After dyeing, the wax is either boiled or scraped away to reveal the design.

[Eugenia Morpurgo] has created a portable, open-source batik bot that rolls along the floor and draws with wax, CNC-style, on a potentially infinite expanse of cloth. The hardware should be familiar: an Arduino Mega and a RAMPS 1.4 board driving NEMA 17 steppers up and down extruded aluminium.

Traditionally, batik wax is applied with a canting, a pen-like object that holds a small amount of hot wax and distributes it through a small opening. The batik bot’s pen combines parts from an electric canting tool with the thermistor, heater block, and heater cartridge from an E3D V6 hot end. [Eugenia] built the Z-axis from scrap and re-used the mechanical endstops from an old plotter. Check out the GitHub for step-by-step instructions with a ton of clear pictures and the project’s site for even more pictures and information. Oh, and don’t resist the chance to see it in action after the break.

We love a good art bot around here, even if the work disappears with the tide.

Hacked-knitting-machineYou can still use punch cards to operate knitting machines, but a few groups are now bringing the technology full circle by hacking knitting machines so that they may be operated digitally via an Arduino.

Read more on MAKE

The post How Punch Cards and Arduino Close the Gap on Hacked Knitting appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.



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