Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies


Barbara Layne
Studio subTela


Barbara Layne is the director of Studio subTela, creating interactive textile arts that combine traditional materials and digital technologies. Her research has been supported with numerous grants including The Canada Council for the Arts, SSHRC, Hexagram, and the Conseil des arts du Quebec. She is the Principal Investigator on two Canadian Foundation for Innovation infrastructure grants. She lectures and exhibits internationally, most recently in The 2012 Kaunas Biennale of Textiles in Lithuania, the Sensual Technologies exhibition at the International Symposia of Electronic Arts in Istanbul, This Pervasive Day at the Edinburgh Science Festival and Electromode at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. She has been a Professor of Fibres at Concordia University since 1989.

Research Overview

Natural materials are woven in alongside microcomputers and sensors to create surfaces that are receptive and responsive to external stimuli.  Innovative textiles feature a flexible array of Light Emitting Diodes that present changing patterns and texts through the structure of cloth.  Wireless transmission systems have also been developed to support real time communication. In both wearable systems and site related installations, textiles are used to address the social dynamics of fabric and human interaction.

Project Highlights

Touchpad Dress

The Touchpad Dress involves the development of a system for direct writing (or drawing) of texts and designs onto a flexible LED array. Conductive threads have been embroidered onto the cuff of the dress and when touched, can sense the position of the finger. The x-y coordinates are transmitted through stitched data lines in the sleeve to a microcontroller located on the waistline of the dress. A wireless device transmits that information to a corresponding LED display in real time.

Currente Calamo

Currente Calamo is a system of handwoven garments that include their own flexible LED message board. Each has their own Bluetooth address printed on a section of the garment. Transmitting to that address will change the images and texts in the LED array in real time. The intimacy of personal messaging can suddenly becomes public.



Professor Janis Jefferies, The Digital Studios, Goldsmiths College, UK
Professor Mohammed Reza Soleymani, Electrical Engineering, Concordia University

Affiliated Graduate Students and Research Assistants

Hesam Khoshneviss
Diane Morin
Carissa Carman
Sarah Gotowka
Amanda Fauteux
Andre Arnold
Azadeh Hamidi
Darsha Hewitt
Elisabeth Belliveau
Isabelle Giroux
Maryam Golshayan
Meghan Price
Omer Baluch
Emily Jan
Caitlin Thompson


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