Category Archives: Week 3: Switches, Sensors, Swatches

Swatches01 – Touch and Distance sensors

DIY touch sensors made with conductive copper fabric and Velostat.
The addition of resistors between every piece of conductive fabric simulate the concept of a distance sensor.

Demonstrations video here:

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Swatch Exchange : Week 3

The Straw Tilt Switch

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How does it work?


This swatch works as an enlarged version of a typical tilt switch. When tilted up the metal balls inside complete the circuit.


  • drinking straw
  • metal balls
  • conductive thread
  • needle
  • fabric
  • hotglue


I sewed two lead legs into opposing sides of the straw leaving a knot inside which the balls would connect. I then capped one end with hot glue, filled with a few balls and closed up the other end with hot glue. I mounted this to a piece of fabric and then sewed leads for the alligator clips to connect to the straw negative and positive leads.


I’ve seen this before in my Arduino days. I like the tactile nature of the switch, and that’s why I wanted to try my hand at it, that and a surplus of small metal balls from a previous project.



I made a few sketches. Ideas for later too!

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I had hoped to do silly strings in the beginning but my metal balls were too large for the straw and got stuck. Would have been a fun switch though. There’s always next time!

Week 3, In Class Assignment: Nipple Gnome

w: Jed Segovia & Eliza Bruce

Description: The swatch contains white conductive yarn that contains positive and ground leads embedded into the swatch.

Materials: Regular yarn and conductive yarn.

Techniques: The swatch was made by knitting.

What it does: This is a button/pressure sensor that reacts to being squeezed. The patch on the bottom is sewn with conductive thread which is connected to conductive snaps. The patch on the bottom is connected internally to a “flap” which is lined with conductive copper fabric and a sliver of conductive foam for detecting the squeezing.

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