Once we had the waterbomb fabric, we looked at different mechanical systems that we could use to actuate it. We finally decided on monofilament truss system that we threaded through eyelets that we laser cut and hand sewed onto the vertices of the waterbomb valleys. We used these to control the movement we wanted from the dress via 3 cords made up smaller connections from the wiring in the dress. One string controlled the front vertical movement of the dress, the other the back vertical movement and the last one controlled constricting horizontal movement.
Mahvish and I are both software kind of girls with experience in small scale robotics, so we were super excited to jump in and …learn some basic electrical engineering. We designed the system to be relatively straightforward with that in mind. We anchored most of the heavier elements to the incredibly sturdy zipper of the dress so we wouldn’t need crazy boning/corsetry to hold it up.
(parts from top left clockwise: diy continuous rotation servo with bobbin, battery packs x2, diy voltage regulator, breadboard prototype for the breath sensor, slightly more buff diy continuous rotation servo hot glued to laser cut mount)
One of the most exciting elements of this project for us (and ultimately, the key to our doom), was the fact that we built the key elements of the electrical system ourselves. We hacked some basic hobby servos Mahvish had for continuous rotation by removing the pentometer and replacing it with two 2.2kohm resistors. We also built a voltage regulator so we could power our initial design, which required 5 normal servos, off of a single 9volt that we ended up scrapping, but were immensely proud of. Lastly the breath sensor built into the collar took advantage of the thermochromatic paint. When the wearer breathes on it, the paint changes color which is picked up by a light sensor and sent to the Lilypad.