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DXARTS Softlab

  • student work involving textiles
  • Ventriloquist Ontology by Afroditi Psarra
  • Fractal Antennae Afroditi Psarra
  • Student showing their wearable e-textile works
  • Ai-Pocrypha by Laura Luna Castillo

The SoftLab is a space dedicated to the research and development of artistic projects using soft-circuits and wearable technology, initiated by DXARTS Associate Professor Dr. Afroditi Psarra in 2016. The lab was initially located at the department’s digital fabrication lab in Ballard, but since July 2019 it has moved to the University of Washington campus, at the School of Art Building (ART 333). The Softlab is equipped with materials, tools, and machines specific to the field of electronic textiles, such as a wide collection of conductive and resistive yarns, shielding and piezo-resistive fabrics, miscellaneous electronic components, a vinyl cutter, a sewing, an overlock, a digital embroidery, and a computerized knitting machine. Access to the DXARTS Softlab is reserved for students working closely with Afroditi Psarra, not limited to DXARTS grads and minors, but also to anyone across the University of Washington campus that wants to explore the field of electronic textiles and wearables. Through independent studies and directed research groups (DRGs), students are encouraged to develop cutting-edge research on e-textile fabrication techniques, soft-circuits, wearable, and performative artifacts by inventing their own creative language.

Students enrolled in the DXARTS studio classes which involve the use of Physical or Wearable Computing have studio space and access to the new facility of DXARTS called “The 8” located at the basement of McMahon Hall which is also equipped with digital fabrication machines (3d printers, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, circuit board mill, small CNC etc) as well as an array of sewing and embroidery machines. The DXARTS SoftLab functions as an extension of The 8 digital fabrication lab by contributing a specialized studio space for research on soft circuitry and wearable computing.

Apart from the physical lab space, the DXARTS SoftLab serves as an online publishing platform for the research that is associated with it. It also documents guest talks and workshops that have been organized in DXARTS and beyond in relation to the Softlab.

Softlab blog :

Mission Statement

The SoftLab’s mission is to examine the role of workmanship in artistic research, to redefine the use of traditional handicrafts in the post-digital era, and to explore the idea of the body as an interface. Starting off from the concept of Ubiquitous Computing, it aims to democratize the production of technology by engaging in hands-on experimentation with the creation of technology through crafting methodologies. Finally, it provides the framework for interdisciplinary research of students from all across campus and encourages creative thinking and artistic innovation.

Available Equipment

  • iMac computer

  • Windows Surface laptop

  • HP Envy 5055 printer/scanner

  • Mackie Microseries 1202 12-channel mixer

  • Genelec speakers

  • RTL-SDR software-defined radio modules

  • Brother Persona PRS100 digital embroidery machine

  • Kniterate digital knitting machine

  • Silhouette Cameo 3 vinyl cutter

  • PFAFF Select 4.2 sewing machine

  • JUKI MO-114D overlock machine

  • Weller WES51 soldering station

  • Miscellaneous e-textile materials and electronic components for wearable