Programmable Plaid: The Search For Seamless Integration In Fashion And Technology

Bigger, E. E., & Fraguada, L. E. (2016). Programmable plaid. Proceedings of the 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing Adjunct - UbiComp 16. doi:10.1145/2968219.2971343

Presented at the 19th (2016) International Symposium on Wearable Computers in Heidelberg, Germany.

Winner of the Jury Prize in the Fibre Arts category at the ISWC Design Exhibition.


The work presented celebrates traditional tartan patterns and their design parameters, as well as the numerous technological achievements in woven textiles. The designers propose a woven textile (as applied in the garment presented) with the capability to illuminate threads in both warp and weft directions. The work described investigates the creation of garments for day-to-day use, which is a use-case probably never considered when developing off-the-shelf electronic components. In developing a new tartan pattern and fabrication technique, the authors respond to the lack of purpose-made electronic components by choosing to evolve tradition into technology. Manufacturing techniques and components for the proposed textile have been carefully considered, researched, and contrasted to previous work by the authors, as well as recent trends in the field of wearable technology. The garment is a component of a tartan pattern generating system which searches the space of all registered tartans in order to find relevant, but yet unregistered tartan color and thread count combinations from a variety of inputs either embedded on the dress, or from a mobile phone.