Influence of lighting on certain visual qualities of textiles

The LTM materials are underdeveloped composites of two smart materials, namely, flexible OLEDs and Piezo polymers. In the context of design-driven materials development, the underdeveloped composites are introduced to Master’s level design students through some of their unique characteristics, including their thin and flexible structure, and their sensing and illuminating aspects.

In a semester course ITD, three groups of students were given a design brief: “to envision a meaningful application for the LTM material”. The course focuses on iterative prototyping and provides means and support with making and programming. In this way, we intended to reduce possible effects of the technical challenges students may face when designing with interactive composites. Along the process, the students were assisted in technical aspects (e.g. programing) of making. They were also appointed to consult an informed material expert, who was also involved in evaluating the proposed concepts in terms of exploiting the LTM unique characteristics.

The students used various ways to represent the LTM materials and their specific qualities in tangible formats. The purpose of creating those representations extended from supporting their own understanding of the physical and dynamic qualities, to exploring possible expressions, communicating and discussing the qualities to other team members and the material expert. The final concepts, exhibited as working prototypes, revealed how the teams made sense of the LTM materials in relation to the overall effects (product purpose and intended vision), leveraging mainly on the structural and functional aspects of the LTM materials, as had been initially described to them. More details on the design activities and tools along the process can be found in [1, 2].


  1. Barati, B., Karana, E, Hekkert, P. (2015, October). From Way Finding in the Dark to Interactive CPR Trainer: Designing with Computational Composites. In Proceedings of DesForm 2015.

  2. Barati, B., Karana, E., Foole, M. (in review). Experience Prototyping Smart Material Composites. In proceedings of EKSIG 2017.

Funded By

Philips Research Eindhoven