The Music Sleeve: Fabric as an electronic interface medium

Ramyah Gowrishankar, Katharina Bredies, Rosan Chow


In the area of fabric interaction, (also known as wearables or smart textiles), innovation often comes from technological advances. Interface designers, on the other hand, take the role of exploring fabric as a medium for interaction. In this article, we will describe and analyse the design of the 'Music Sleeve' – a fabric controller for a music player on a mobile phone. The development of the Music Sleeve was an experiment in open-ended design approaches. As a case study, it represents an interface solution that emphasizes the functional fabric qualities in the interaction, complementary to other, either more expressive or more pragmatically designed interfaces. In the article, we will therefore not only describe the design process, but also reflect on our insights: How the fabric properties guided the development of fabric interface elements; how the functions associated with the interactions were guided by the form of the final prototype; and how concept development and prototyping were closely intertwined in the process. We conclude with a reflection about how aesthetics and function interrelate in the fabric interface.


Fabric Interaction; Electronic textile

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