Pattern Matrix


The pattern matrix is a tangible weavecoding system for exploring the connections between code and weave. Developed as part of the AHRC funded weavecoding project and Future Thinking for Social Living, it was built as a collaboration between Makernow and Foam Kernow, developed during an arts residency at Miners Court extra care housing scheme in Redruth, Cornwall.

First exhibited as part of Ellen Harlizius-Klück's Textile Matrix exhibition in Munich's Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke, the pattern matrix provided a way for visitors to experiment with different weaving drafts (the notation that weavers use) and see how they are woven into fabric on a warp weighted loom - a technology that dates back to the Greek civilisation of antiquity with origins in neolithic times. Both weave structure and colour sequences can be controlled separately.

Based on the flotsam prototype, the pattern matrix uses magnetic blocks as tangible programming tokens which are read using custom hardware and a Raspberry Pi to render a warp weighted loom simulation. The pattern matrix is open source hardware and software.

The design comes from an improvement on the prototype's plug based system, but keeping a philosophy of "no-magic" with easily explainable mechanisms (particularly for working with children). Magnets and hall-effect sensors are readily available, and the use of multiple magnets in a 2 by 2 formation allow for identification of different block types along with rotation and flip by reading different patterns of north and south.