Electronic, or “functional” fabrics as they are called, can be used for simple applications such as lighting up, producing heat, or sensing when touched. Then again, there’s no reason why these actions couldn’t be expanded into something more interactive. Maker Madison Maxey demonstrates this in her latest project, a textile trackpad.
At the heart of her setup, which spans several feet when laid out, is a grid of conductive fabric tape connected to four Adafruit capacitive touch breakout boards. This grid/breakout sends signals to an Adafruit FLORA, which in turn interfaces with a PC to act as a trackpad. Maxey also included vibration motors that provide haptic feedback whenever a user swipes their hand over the tablecloth cover.
It’s an interesting build electronics-wise, and as seen in Maxey’s write-up, working with fabric requires a few techniques may be worth checking out!