Haptic Knits: A New Paradigm in Wearable Technologies

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community



Cosima du Pasquier, Stanford University


"Haptic Knits: A New Paradigm in Wearable Technologies"


Traditional knitting conjures images of manual fabrication with large wooden needles, a thick ball of yarn, and bulky sweaters. In contrast, modern industrial knitting has made incredible advances, using up to 34 different materials simultaneously, a variety of stitches, patterns, numbers of layers; from simple 2D fabric to 3D shapes like whole gloves, molds, and scaffolds. However, the complexity of design and planning increases with every stitch. Modern knitting design requires iteration and a vast know-how. I will present our work using computational modeling, benchtop experiments, and human user studies to create wearable devices we call haptic knits. We are building a modeling and optimization pipeline that can facilitate complex knit design, considering material and geometrical nonlinearity in anything from textiles to high-dimensional 3D structures.  Combining elements from soft robotics and knitting, we use multi-material and multi-stitch knitting to achieve variable stiffness textiles that control and direct load transmission from pneumatic actuators. We use this concept in a haptic sleeve to provide sensory feedback and show that it can be applied to a host of exciting applications, from social touch communication to rehabilitation. I will place this work in the context of my prior work in mechanics, soft actuation, and user-centered design.

About the Speaker

Cosima du Pasquier is a Postdoc in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. Working with her postdoc sponsor Allison Okamura, as well as academic collaborators from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Georgia Tech, and University of Houston, she focuses on design, modeling, and fabrication of wearable technologies for healthcare. Prior to joining Stanford, Cosima received her BSc, MSc, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich in 2014, 2017, and 2022 respectively. Her PhD dissertation was awarded the ETH Medal. Dr. du Pasquier’s research combines structural mechanics, materials, and design. During her PhD at the Engineering Design and Computing (EDAC) Lab at ETH Zurich, she focused on modeling and optimizing deformation of morphing structures using soft printed actuators. In her postdoc, she focuses streamlining the design of assistive wearable technologies, such as rehabilitative devices for stroke survivors and wearable haptic platforms. Dr. du Pasquier’s work has appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Soft Robotics, Additive Manufacturing, Smart Materials and Structures, and Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization. During her MSc and PhD, she collaborated with academic partners from MIT, which culminated in the founding of the startup Rapid Liquid Printing Co., for which she is an advisor. Her current work is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation through the Convergence Accelerator and Human-Centered Computing programs.