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Spynning Yarns

September 30, 2009
by Anne Pinckard
an artist's depiction of Spyn technology

A hand-knit sweater isn’t merely a thing of beauty, it is a tangible reminder that someone invested time and effort to provide the wearer with a beautiful gift. Now a scarf can do more than just evoke memories—it can hold them, along with images, videos, and sounds, thanks to Spyn, a system developed by School of Information graduate student Daniela Rosner and Professor Kimiko Ryokai.

A cell phone, loaded with the correct software, keeps track of the size of a knitted work in progress such as the scarf pictured here. The knitter can then mark their geographic location with the phone’s GPS device, snap photos, make videos, or record sounds at any point in the project. The software associates these logged activities with a particular spot on the fabric by using the number of rows and stitches as a kind of graph. The phone’s touchscreen, turned into a video feed, displays these activities as icons that can be touched to replay the video or display the photo.

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