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ohmHook – Tools for E-Textile Techniques (2016)

The ohmHook is a tool that allows the user to sense the electrical properties of the material they are manipulating while they are manipulating it. Electrical resistance is a material property that we humans have no sense for, but have built ourselves tools to probe. The tools for manipulating conductive materials are separate from the tools that allow us to measure conductivity, meaning any process interested in doing both becomes one of switching back and forth between making and manipulating. The ohmHook merges these two processes into one, inviting the maker to explore what it is like to sense the electrical resistance of a yarn throughout the process of crocheting it into form.

The ohmHook is made from a crochet hook mounted on a circuitboard including a microcontroller which measures the electrical resistance between the crochet hook and a crocodile clip connected to the opposite end of the tool handle. The resistance is displayed as the 10 bit reading of the microcontroller’s analog-to-digital converter.

Having the ability to sense electrical propeties of a material as you are manipulating it can allow you to explore it’s potential for creating electronics. Highly conductive materials make good connectors between physically distant electronic parts. Materials with stable electrical resistance can be used to detect location of contact on their surface. Materials with varirable resistance often respond to forces such as stretch, pressure, bend and twist with a change in resistance, and can be used to sense a large variety of physical interactions.
The ohmHook does not have to be used for crochet. Use it to probe and explore all kinds of materials, and to invent new ways of building electronics.

>> ohmHook Booklet
>> ohmHook DIY Page
>> ohmHook Project Page
>> ohmHook Workshop Documentation
>> ohmHook Repository
>> Flickr set


A vibrating resistance meter for crochet – this crochet hook translates electrical resistance into vibration, making electrical resistance a tangible property of an E-Textile making process. The Ohm Hook allows you to develop an electrical sense for the materials you work with. For example, if you are crocheting stainless steel yarn to make a stretch sensor you can tailor your design to the range of resistance you want because you immediate feedback on the resistance of what you are making.

Instructable >>
Flickr set >>

The ohmHook is made by cutting and stacking pieces of clear acrylic, and sewing them together with thick thread. The circuitry is contained within the layers of the acrylic and remains visible. To use as few elements as possible, I sought to use materials for both their electrical and material/mechanical/aesthetic properties. For example, the shaft of the crochet hook is itself the negative lead to the coin-cell battery.


The ohmHook is part of a series of tools for e-textile techniques that are motivated by a desire for MORE tools and LESS parts when it comes to building electronics. So many electronic functions are compartmentalized into discrete parts. These parts make up the tool-set of most engineers/designers/makers who build electronics. And while they make it easy and fast to prototype and build electronics, these parts also end up defining and constraining how we make and what we can build. By making tools that allow us to create our own parts, I hope to encourage a greater electronic diversity.

Tools for E-Textile Techniques

A set of tools designed to support a variety of E-Textile techniques such as sewing, knitting and crocheting with conductive threads and yarns. As ambassadors of process, and storytellers of trade, tools have much to say of how we create the things we make. By imagining, creating and using tools designed specifically for the interdisciplinary practice of Electronic Textiles, it should be possible to tell new stories about a new trade.

Seam Ripping Continuity Meter

This seam-ripper has a continuity meter built in. An LED lights up to indicate when an unwanted electrical connection is made between the tip of the seam-ripper and the part of the circuit that you wish to disconnect from. An alligator clip can be connected to different parts of the circuit, so that you can decide where to measure for unwanted continuity. The LED is powered by a 3V coin cell battery. The brighter the light, the less electrical resistance.

Make your own >>


Vibrating Crochet Hook (Continuity Meter)

This vibrating crochet hook can be used to measure the resistance of a crochet stretch sensor while it is being made. Continuity and resistance can be measured while the sensor is being crocheted. The vibration motor is powered by a 3V coin cell battery. The less resistance, the stronger the crochet needle will vibrate.

Make your own >>


Breadboard Pincushion

This pincushion design has strips of conductive fabric adhered to its surface, so that metal pins or component contacts that protrude through the same piece of conductive fabric are electrically connected. This cushion can be used for prototyping electrical circuits as well as for string pins, needles and components.

Make your own >>

Version for microcontrollers