E-textiles (a.k.a. soft circuits or wearables) is a rapidly growing field of electronics. Projects generally consist of interactive circuits embedded in textiles using conductive thread and Arduino-based microcontrollers. The components commonly used are designed to be hand-sewn and worn (for instance, the Lilypad and Flora).

I've developed a new method for creating wearables, machine knitting with bus wire.

Bus wire is pre-tinned copper wire used in electronic circuits. It is inexpensive, solders easily, has stable conductivity, and negligible resistance.

Home knitting machines are designed for rapid production. Patterns can be uploaded as electronic files, and shared in jpeg or bmp formats-- a form of CNC production.



Lead solder should not be worn against the skin. Circuits need a lining for the wearer's protection.

Wires should not be handled roughly or bent. The wire should not be worn where it will be repeatedly bent with a tight radius. However, if treated with the same care usually reserved for hand knitted textiles, it holds up fine.

Who this method is for:

Project Plans:

A library of stitch pattern circuit diagrams. 

Diagrams for easy reading by hand knitters + bmp versions of the files that can be uploaded directly to electronic knitting machines for printing the circuit board.

Patterns to include:



My work continues from the work of many others before me. 

Hi-Low Tech Research Group of the MIT Media Lab. In particular, the work of Leah Buechley, David Mellis, and Hannah Perner-Wilson.

How to Get What You Want. A fantastic web resource, a database of e-textile methods created by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson.

Adafruit Electroknit. My introduction to Brother Knitting Machines.

Img2Track. Free software that adds an easy-to-use interface to a hacked knitting machine.