The Ilinx Garment

A Wearable Tactile Display With 30 Embedded Vibrotactile Actuators

Three participants wearing the garment.
Three volunteers from the TodaysArt festival pose in the Ilinx garment, complete with frosted helmets.

The Ilinx garment was designed to allow for the creation of tactile illusions in an immersive, multimodal art installation entitled Ilinx. We worked closely with experts in the creation of wearable electronics to create a system which embeds a total of 30 vibrotactile actuators into the garments arms, legs, and torso.

Our central concerns were that the garment provide a robust and versatile platform for the creation of tactile stimuli while also looking and feeling like a designer garment. In order to achieve this we combined our experience in creating embedded electronic systems with techniques drawn from the wearable electronics community, such as the use of conductive thread and the choice of materials appropriate for garment construction.

The garments have been worn by more than 1000 visitors at international art festivals in the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan.

The Ilinx Garment opened to show actuators.
The 30 actuators are visible below as silver circles in the arms, legs, and torso of the garment. Velcro straps were used to fasten the actuators securely to the visitors’ bodies.
Pictures of the actuator housing, driver PCBs, and conductive thread used in the Ilinx garment.
(Top) 3D printed housings for the actuators were designed in order to provide terminals for attaching the conductive thread. (Bottom) The conductive threads lead from the actuators to custom-designed circuit boards which receive control messages and generate signals to drive the actuators.


Ian Hattwick: Technology Direction/Hardware-Software
Ivan Franco, Marcello Giordano, & Deborah Egloff: Hardware-Software Development
Chris Salter + TeZ: Artistic Direction
Valerie Lamontagne: Wearables Direction and Design
Isabelle Campeau & Marie-Eve Lecavalier Lemieux: Wearable Development

Public Presentations

TodaysArt 2014, The Hague, Netherlands;
HAU3 / CTM 2015, Berlin, Germany
TodaysArt. jp, Terrada Soko, Tokyo, Japan


Hattwick, Ian, Ivan Franco, Marcello Giordano, Deborah Egloff, Marcelo M. Wanderley, Valerie Lamontagne, Ian Arawjo, and Maurizio Martinucci (2015). “Composition Techniques for the Ilinx Vibrotactile Garment.” In: Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference. Denton, Texas, USA, pp. 420-423.
Abstract & Download

Lamontagne, Valerie, Ian Hattwick, Ivan Franco, Marcello Giordano, Deborah Egloff, Maurizio Martinucci, Chris Salter, and Marcelo M. Wanderley (2015). “The Ilinx Garment: Whole-body Tactile Experience in a Multisensorial Art Installation”. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Electronic Arts. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Abstract & Download

Giordano, M., I. Hattwick, I. Franco, D. Egloff, E. Frid, V Lamontagne, Tez, C. Salter, and M.M. Wanderley (2015). “Design and Implementation of a Whole-Body Haptic Suit for ‘Ilinx’, a Multisensory Art Installation”. In: Proceedings of the Sound and Music Computing Conference. Kildare, Ireland, pp. 169-175.
Abstract & Download


Funded by the Canada Council for the Arts’ GRAND NCE Media Artist and Scientist Collaboration scheme.