Ramyah Gowrishankar defended her doctoral thesis on electrostatic textiles as part of the European Training Network ArcInTex

Ramyah Gowrishankar defended her doctoral thesis titled “Engaging with e-static textiles: An investigation into textile interaction design for shaping body-driven energy harvesting in the interior.” on 10 Nov 2020 at the UdK.

Her thesis was part of the ArcInTex ETN (Architecture, Interaction Design and Textiles European Training Network) research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions. The ArcInTex ETN project aimed to strengthen the foundations of design for more sustainable forms of future living by connecting Architecture, Interaction Design and Textiles in a training network of early-stage researchers. The project consortium consisted of 6 universities and 5 companies from around Europe who hosted 15 PhD students. Ramyah was located at the Design Research Lab at the University of the Arts in Berlin.

Ramyah’s doctoral thesis deals with electrostatic (or e-static) energy harvesting in textiles at the scale of the interior and investigates the implications of actively engaging the human body in electricity generation through an interaction design inquiry. Through the process of making, discovering and experimenting with the electrostatic harvesting circuit, the thesis develops a textile-specific methodology for designing interactions with e-textiles and presents examples of constructing e-static textiles and setups using easily-accessible materials. Furthermore, it argues for considering temporal scaling of interactions relevant for energy harvesting as an inquiry into the sustainability of interactions. One of the key results that support further research in this area is the ‘e-static textiles prototyping board’ and workshop kit. The e-static textiles prototyping board is a PCB that can be easily connected to high voltage inputs and sewed on textiles to safely design and prototype interactions with static electricity.

The thesis would soon be available to view and download on the UdK’s online publishing archive.

Thesis supervisors/examiners:
Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost
Prof. Dr. Berit Greinke

Advisors from Arcintex ETN project:
Dr. Phil. Katharina Bredies (UdK)
Prof Jolanta Vasalinskiene (Vilnius Academy of Arts)
Mr. Ian Higgins (Royal College of Art)

Links for further info:
Design research lab