The Tangible Media Group has done a series of investigations into new multi-modal computer interfaces that utilize gesture and the sense of touch to improve interpersonal communication, education, and access to digital information. "Interactive surfaces" are one of our most promising
lines of research and this article will look in depth at the design, implementation, and possible applications of interactive surfaces through an example project, Super Cilia Skin, an Interactive Membrane. Super Cilia Skin (SCS) is a computationally enhanced membrane that couples tactile/
kinesthetic input with tactile and visual output. Our prototype manipulates the orientation of an array of yarn-like actuators (cilia) to display dynamic images or physical gestures. Like cloth, SCS is designed to be applied to arbitrary objects to engage sight and touch. Unlike traditional
textiles, SCS can sense touch and dynamically move its surface. This article will discuss the potential for scale shifts with actuated textiles in which the material can blur boundaries between foreground/environment and field/object. Our design studies will present applications in which actuated
textiles can use their material properties to improve interpersonal communication, enhance creative expression, and assist education in young learners by engaging tactile/kinesthetic intelligences.
Textile brings together research in textile studies in an innovative and distinctive academic forum for all those who share a multifaceted view of textiles within an expanded field. Peer-reviewed and in full-color throughout, it represents a dynamic and wide-ranging set of critical practices. It provides a platform for points of departure between art and craft; gender and identity; cloth, body and architecture; labor and technology; techno-design and practice— all situated within the broader contexts of material and visual culture.