Doti: Desktop Jacquard Loom working prototype Pamela Liou Ritual Romance by Langoliers Ritual Romance by Langoliers Ritual Romance by Langoliers

DOTI: The Desktop Jacquard Loom

The Dot-Matrix Fabric Printer is an open source desktop jacquard loom (nicknamed Doti) which leverages digital fabrication to enable expressive textile production at home and encourage broader design literacy. I am currently developing the Doti Project as a Project Resident at Eyebeam

The Doti loom provides an alternative to commercial weaving industry-- a technology-mediated model for the cottage industry of high quality textiles. Users drag and drop an image, which is then parsed into a woven pattern. An array of motors lifts and lowers threads while the weaver passes a shuttle across the shed of the loom, generating complex fabric patterns. Patterns are easily shared over a network of looms.




The Doti loom allows users to design freely. Each warp, or vertical thread, is attached to an actuator that lowers or lifts. Because each thread has a separate motor, you can individually address each warp. As the weaver shuttles thread, a pattern emerges additively. The weaver is able to change the state of each thread on the fly, and the complexity of the design is limited only by the number of motors a machine is equipped with. The project began at NYU's Interactive Telecommunication Program as my thesis.Unlike commercially available looms, the user of a Doti loom can weave any pattern, unencumbered by pre-threaded harnesses or the cognitive load of keeping track of a draft pattern.

By networking multiple machines, Doti will provide the foundation for a robust supply chain of independent small batch textile producers. Because the Doti Project is a holistic survey of this open-source model, my research process involves three concurrent threads: the fabrication of a desktop loom, the cultural context for the open source hardware model, and the development of an expressive web application.

The Jacquard loom has a storied history. Credited as the world's first computer, it is also a timeworn symbol of technology displacing human labor. Adapting the jacquard as an open hardware device for the home (cottage industry) not only requires rigorous technical execution, but exploring new modalities for developing community-driven open-source innovations.



The desktop loom is continuation of a previous project, Weavy the Smart Loom that created with Kristina Budelis, Danqing Wang, and Ma Tan. The original loom involved a single harness moving alternating warp threads up and down with a stepper motor. The user weaves manually by moving a shuttle back and forth. For Weavy, I researched traditional loom designs and the originally jacquard loom mechanism, as well as the history around the mechanization of textile fabrication and the Luddite revolution.