With the recent interest in wearable electronics and smart garments, digital fabrication of sensing and interactive textiles is in increasing demand. Recently, advances in digital machine knitting offer opportunities for the programmable, rapid fabrication of soft, breathable textiles. In this paper, we present KnitUI, a novel, accessible machine-knitted user interface based on resistive pressure sensing. Employing conductive yarns and various machine knitting techniques, we computationally design and automatically fabricate the double-layered resistive sensing structures as well as the coupled conductive connection traces with minimal manual post-processing. We present an interactive design interface for users to customize KnitUI's colors, sizes, positions, and shapes. After investigating design parameters for the optimized sensing and interactive performance, we demonstrate KnitUI as a portable, deformable, washable, and customizable interactive and sensing platform. It obtains diverse applications, including wearable user interfaces, tactile sensing wearables, and artificial robot skin.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (https://chi2021.acm.org/)