E-Textile Potentiometer

Potentiometer is a type of analog sensors that produces continuous signals. It senses senses sliding or tilting.

The sliding object (the conductive thread in this case) connects one end of the circuit to the resistive part. When it slides, the path length of the current through the resistive material is changed and so the resistance in the circuit increases or decreases accordingly. The further the path length of the current through the resistive material, the more resistance the circuit has. 

Resistive materials have high resistance, highly conductive materials (e.g. copper fabric) wouldn’t work well in this circuit, as the resistance doesn’t change significantly while sliding the object.

This tutorial guides you to create a simple e-textile potentiometer. Click here to see more examples following the same principle.

Watch the tutorial

Read the tutorial

Materials

  • Eeonyx fabric (or other resistive material)

  • Copper coated fabric (or other conductive material)

  • Iron-on adhesive

  • Conductive thread

  • Conductive and non-conductive bead

  • Non-conductive fabric

If using template, find out the elements​ in below picture

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Tools

  • Iron

  • Needle (or sewing machine)

  • Scissor

  • Baking paper

Making steps 

Skip to step 3. if using the template.

1. Iron the adhesive to the back of the copper fabric

2. Cut the copper fabric into two squares each with an extended leg, and cut two pieces of the non-conductive fabric to be the substrates 

3. Iron to fuse the the Eeonyx on to the non-conductive fabric

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4. Iron to fuse the copper fabric in the middle of the Eeonyx circle

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5. Sew the conductive thread in the middle of copper fabric, repeat stitches to make a firm contact

Ensure a firm contact between the conductive thread and the copper fabric

6. String beads on to the conductive thread until they reach the inner edge of Eeonyx, use metal beads on the end.

As metal conducts electricity, the metal beads provide a ladder for the current coming from the conductive thread through to the Eeonyx.

7. Knot and cut off the rest of thread, the e-textile potentiometer is done!

8. To test the sensor, set the multimeter to a proper resistance measurement setting, you should see the ohm reading changes when tilting the sensor.

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More examples following this principle

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