The Jacquard loom has a storied history. Credited as the world’s first computer, it is also a timeworn symbol of technology displacing human labor. Adapting the jacquard as an open hardware device for the home (cottage industry) not only requires rigorous technical execution, but exploring new modalities for developing community-driven open-source innovations. However, lowering the steep barriers of access to an electronic loom is not enough to empower craftspeople. Open source hardware has been lauded as an efficient development process, distributing development among all interested parties; however, these constraints privilege those with the economic means to contribute and de-incentivize innovation from potential contributors of alternative perspectives.
The Doti Project provides an alternative, technology-mediated model for the cottage industry of high quality textiles through the distribution of desktop looms. The user of a Doti loom can weave any pattern, unencumbered by pre-threaded harnesses or the cognitive load of keeping track of a draft pattern. By networking multiple machines, Doti will provide the foundation for a robust supply chain of independent small batch textile producers.
Because the Doti Project is a holistic survey of this open-source model, Doti loom allows users to design freely. Each warp, or vertical thread, is attached to an actuator that lowers or lifts. Because each thread has a separate motor, you can individually address each warp. As the weaver shuttles thread, a pattern emerges additively. The weaver is able to change the state of each thread on the fly, and the complexity of the design is limited only by the number of motors a machine is equipped with. The project began at NYU's Interactive Telecommunication Program as my thesis where I built a working prototype of the loom.