More than Human Centred Design


Ruta, a Loom for Making Sense of Industrial Weaving

  • Daniëlle Ooms, Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Nick Voskuil, Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Hanna Ottilia Wallner, Royal institute of technology , Stockholm, Sweden
  • Kristina Andersen, Future Everyday Group Industrial Design, TU Eindhoven, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Corresponding email(s): n.voskuil@student.tue.nl
  • ACM DL Link: Extended Abstract

With the design of Ruta, we focused on the essential principle of weaving; programming the material. Since we believe the programming or manipulating the warp is an important factor in the complexity of weaving, and at the same time it is a core step in the process of creating the designed structure. However, due to this programming complexity, the novice weaver finds it hard to quickly engage in weaving. In order to make sense of the complexity of weaving, we wanted to make this programming less abstract, better understandable, give actual meaning to this process of programming in order to develop understanding and feeling for what weaving actually entails. So the question arose: How can we make ‘programming the material’ a meaningful and a sense making process? And by extension: How can we make a loom that is also a ‘sense-making tool’?

Who is the target audience and why design for them? The main target audience of this demo are Novice Weavers and Designers with an interest in exploring. From a first person perspective, we concluded that weaving can be difficult to engage in, mainly due to the complicity in the programming and preparing a loom is complex and time consuming. This process is heavily focused on understanding the principles and knowledge of traditional weaving. We wanted to give the novice weaver an opportunity to learn and engage in an explorative way. While physically interacting with Ruta, the user can make sense of weaving. Ultimately Ruta might make it easier to develop samples with a view towards designing for industrial weaving machines.

What were the challenges or limitations encountered in this project? One of the challenges we experienced in the design process of Ruta is working from a conceptual idea towards a fully working mechanism in the prototype. With the pins catching the warp threads, tolerances were important to keep in mind. In the design process we went back and forth many times in perfecting the mechanism and interaction with Ruta. In addition, Ruta was tested both with novice weavers and with expert weavers. In this case time constraint limited the number of user tests we were able to conduct. Further testing and more elaborate testing of Ruta with the target audience of novice weavers would be interesting. More knowledge could be inquired on the difficulties in the weaving process and if and how the process in working with Ruta impart sense making in weaving.

What are the opportunities and next steps for this project? The final result of the product is a loom that seemed to fulfill its aim, however there are several opportunities for future work to make the product more valuable. An opportunity we envision is connecting Ruta to the crafting community. A lot of makers produce their own manufacturing tools, such as 3D printers. By making Ruta an open source product and connecting it to a crafting community the product can be developed through iterations and add-ons by the makers themselves, to enable new functionalities and innovate in weaving methods and manufacturing processes. This community will help to keep weaving alive among designers.

To the Demo Visitors: Would you be interested in an open source platform for Ruta or want to share your feedback? We would love to discuss our ideas with you. Reach out to us at n.voskuil@student.tue.nl We would love to discuss the future of weaving! Reach out to us at n.voskuil@student.tue.nl