eTextiles: Reviewing a Practice through its Tool/Kits


Electronic textiles, or eTextiles, and connected research and practice communities grew within and across diverse disciplines over the past 20 years. Initially evolving from academic investigations, eTextiles now play a growing role in both industry and education alike. While we are increasingly confronted with resulting eTextile artefacts, we lack a thorough understanding of the underlying making practices, and in particular what role toolkits play in framing, promoting and supporting creation practices. It is timely then to undertake a review of currently available eTextile tools and kits, discussing the technical, cultural and social expectations inscribed in these settings and how their design and technology impacts the emerging field of eTextiles. Here we compile the first overview of both academic research and popular available toolkits, as a basis for an analysis of potential strategies for future directions: how to diversify and professionalise the field and its community of practice.

Overview of toolkits in the field of eTextiles. The year notes the time of publication for academic content, or the time we could identify as the earliest general availability for commercial kits or DIY instructions. Level and age indicate the user demographic addressed. The self description is shortened from the texts used by the respective authors/makers.

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