Interactive Textiles

A soft/textile games controller to help older people and those with mobility issues to play games with their families and friends in a social setting or from their own homes. There are a number of people who want to connect to the digital world but struggle with the controls of new technology. We want to help them connect up with their families and friends in fun ways by providing a simplified and comfortable textile controller.

Product features of the soft controller

  • Tactile responsive interface
  • Comfortable sensory textiles
  • Available in different shapes, colours, textures and patterns
  • Light weight and easy to hold

Interactive Textiles for Older People

A research project funded by the Brigstow Institute, Bristol University 2017

Tactile interfaces for older people brings together a computer scientist (Kirsten Cater) and a social scientist (Helen Manchester) with creative technologists (Annie Lywood and Pete Bennett) to explore the potential for soft, interactive textiles and art to enable older people to access and manage their immediate environment and memories. Our work aims to improve the quality of life for care home residents enabling independence, communication and social interaction to mitigate the early-stages of dementia.

We visited several carehomes in Bristol and spoke with older people and their carers both in carehomes and at home to test the textile controls and ask for their feedback.

We explored the value of comfort, texture, shape touch and gesture

We asked older people what they wanted to control through a textile interface and how we could help to simplify their use of technology in helpful ways.

Many thanks for the funding and support of the Brigstow Institute and the following team.

Pete Bennett – creative technologist

Dr Kirsten Carter – Academic Director of the Centre for Innovation, Bristol University

Dr Helen Manchester – Senior Lecturer in Educational and Social Futures, Bristol University

Peter Fitch – Computer Science student

What next?

In response to the positive feedback received from our first prototypes, Bonnie Binary is now exploring the potential of tactile interfaces to enable user-friendly control of useful technology in the home for a range of needs. Our inspiration for creating Tactile Interfaces is to help people to stay independent and live well with simple and user friendly technology.

  • to create easily accessible useful, beautiful and friendly tech through soft tactile and sensory electronic interfaces
  • to enhance user experience by harnessing the unique qualities of textiles – adding a sensory and tactile experience to the control of objects in the home
  • to bring the advantages of tech to a wider and different audience by packaging it in a new way
  • to help older people stay active and in touch with friends and family