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Redycler: Daily Outfit Texture Fabrication Appliance Using Re-Programmable Dyes

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We present a speculative design for a novel appliance for future fabrication in the home to revitalize textiles using re-programmable multi-color textures. Utilizing colored photochromic dyes activated by ultraviolet (UV) light, we can selectively deactivate hues using complementary colors in visible light to result in the final desired dye pattern. Our proposed appliance would automate this process within a box placed in the bedroom. We envision a future where people are able to transform old apparel into unique and fashionable pieces of clothing. We discuss how the user would interact with the appliance and how this device elongates the life-cycle of clothing through modification. We also outline the central issues to integrate such a concept into the home. Finally, we analyze how this device fits into personal modification trends in HCI to show how this device could change existing conceptions around sustainable fashion and personal style.
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Redycler: Daily Outfit Texture Fabrication Appliance Using
Re-Programmable Dyes
Ritik Batra
Kaitlyn Lee
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, USA
We present a speculative design for a novel appliance for future
fabrication in the home to revitalize textiles using re-programmable
multi-color textures. Utilizing colored photochromic dyes activated
by ultraviolet (UV) light, we can selectively deactivate hues using
complementary colors in visible light to result in the nal desired
dye pattern. Our proposed appliance would automate this process
within a box placed in the bedroom. We envision a future where
people are able to transform old apparel into unique and fashionable
pieces of clothing.
We discuss how the user would interact with the appliance and
how this device elongates the life-cycle of clothing through modi-
cation. We also outline the central issues to integrate such a concept
into the home. Finally, we analyze how this device ts into personal
modication trends in HCI to show how this device could change
existing conceptions around sustainable fashion and personal style.
Hardware Emerging tools and methodologies
centered computing Displays and imagers.
Personal fabrication, programmable matter, multi-color textures,
color change, photochromic, home appliance, dynamic textiles
ACM Reference Format:
Ritik Batra and Kaitlyn Lee. 2022. Redycler: Daily Outt Texture Fabrication
Appliance Using Re-Programmable Dyes. In Sixteenth International Confer-
ence on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’22), February
13–16, 2022, Daejeon, Republic of Korea. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 4 pages.
There are several sustainability issues in the current state of the
fashion industry. It is estimated that the industry not only produces
8-10% of global CO
emissions but is also a major consumer of
Both authors contributed equally to this research.
Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or
classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed
for prot or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation
on the rst page. Copyrights for third-party components of this work must be honored.
For all other uses, contact the owner/author(s).
TEI ’22, February 13–16, 2022, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
©2022 Copyright held by the owner/author(s).
ACM ISBN 978-1-4503-9147-4/22/02.
Figure 1: This showcases our speculative appliance design
placed in a bedroom.
water (79 trillion litres per year). It also produces more than 92
million tons of textile waste each year [
]. In addition to the waste
produced during garment production, clothing discarded after that
process also contribute to a large amount of textile waste. The lives
of several garment types (T-shirts, knit collared shirts, and woven
pants) averaged only 3.1 to 3.5 years per garment, and only 15% of
textile waste is explicitly recycled globally [13].
In today’s highly competitive fashion market, retailers aim to
keep up with the latest trends in fashion shows, leading to them
increasing the frequency with which they rotate out their merchan-
dise in the destructive business model today known as fast fashion
]. This encourages customers to buy clothing more frequently
with the idea of "Here today, gone tomorrow."
Many existing fashion brands, like Zara and H&M pride them-
selves on keeping up to date with the hottest trends, boasting im-
pressively short production cycles. Shein, a rapidly growing online
fast fashion brand, aims to get products from design to shipment
within 3 days [9].
Hence, we propose a speculative design shown in Figure 1 for a
new common household appliance that allows users to quickly and
easily change the color and designs of articles of clothing. We aim
to show how this appliance integrates into everyday life and show
how it is easy to use by incorporating familiar interactions.
This device challenges the sustainability issues of fast fashion by
allowing users to change styles and revitalize old pieces of clothing
arXiv:2112.10061v1 [cs.HC] 19 Dec 2021
TEI ’22, February 13–16, 2022, Daejeon, Republic of Korea Ritik Batra and Kaitlyn Lee
without needing to create new textiles, while empowering users to
express themselves through personal styling [5].
Focusing on personal fabrication, this appliance would enable
people outside of technology enthusiast communities to modify
their clothing without requiring extensive setup or skill acquisition
]. Through a simple interface, we hope to lower the barrier for
personal fabrication and encourage more tailored textiles rather
than wastefully purchasing new ones.
Our research questions are as follows.
How do we encourage self-expression in clothing through
personal unique modications?
How can we motivate consumers to be more sustainable and
recycle their clothing?
What interactions can we use to fully integrate this novel
machine into regular household routines?
Of course, there are also consumers for whom staying completely
up to date with the latest trends is not a priority. For such people,
thrift shopping is a popular way of refreshing a wardrobe. A recent
study on young thrift-shoppers in Rio De Janeiro found that people
thrift shopped for a mixture of three reasons–price, exclusivity,
and quality [
]. However, thrift shopping is also quite restrictive;
shoppers may not be able to nd a design they like in the size they
need. Here, we propose a device that takes a garment a person
already owns as input – perhaps a faded but comfortable sweater
– and allows the owner to programmatically re-color the garment
in their own home. Such a device would reduce the frustration of
nding clothing that is simultaneously form-tting, stylistically
refreshing, and eco-friendly all at once.
Qamar et al. have demonstrated a method of using photochromic
dyes to programmatically color and re-color single-material objects
with Photo-Chromeleon. Their work introduces the reversible col-
oration of textiles using photochromic dye, ultraviolet (UV) light,
and visible light but we would like to integrate this technology into
the daily life of users using an automated, interactive appliance that
can be used daily [
]. The ultra-short throw projector with a UV
LED wash in the box in contrast to a UV and visible light projector
set a specic distance away would t better into the home due to
space required and workow automation. We are also lowering the
barrier of entry for users with a drag-and-drop user interface and
2D design uploads in contrast to the Photo-Chromeleon 3D UV
This design builds on previous work by Devendorf et al. relating
to dynamic textiles, as we are connecting textile reconstruction
with personal style and exploring how users would interact with an
appliance enabling them to automatically make this transformation,
as well as how dynamic textiles can be integrated into daily life [
A challenge we see with this integration is the motivation for
users to spend the extra time to use this device rather than resorting
to going to a retailer and purchasing a new garment, so we hope to
eventually incentivize users through a rewards-based system similar
to how we motivate people to purchase electric cars and renewable
sources of energy through tax breaks [
]. By using gamication and
technology to persuade users to act more sustainably, we introduce
a playful interface and fun user experience that motivates users
to regularly utilize the device [
]. To further motivate the user to
recycle clothing, the appliance’s interface includes metrics of the
positive environmental impact by using this appliance such as tons
of textile waste prevented.
3.1 Hardware
A photochromic dye becomes saturated ("activated") when exposed
to UV light, so the combined cyan, magenta, and yellow (CMY)
dye rst becomes black. Since each CMY component has a unique
absorption peak in the visible spectrum, the dyes can then be selec-
tively and rapidly de-saturated ("deactivated") with close-range red,
green, and/or blue (RGB) visible light to result in a desired color
]. By combining CMY photochromic dyes, we can attach a spray
to the device that can be applied to the entire garment by the user
before operating the appliance. With close-range projectors, we
can improve the speed and integration of re-programming the dye
for daily personal fabrication.
A mock-up of the appliance is shown in Figure 2. Redycler con-
sists of a large sealed door and an easy-to-use digital interface to
quickly select colors and patterns to apply to the chosen garment.
The technology would consist of a touchscreen compatible with a
Raspberry Pi to provide a playful graphical user interface to provide
the service to users in an engaging way.
To fully integrate this appliance into daily life, setting up the
material for dyeing should require minimal user eort. The user
would need to initially spray the garments with photochromic dye
which would be included in a rellable spray bottle attached to
the appliance. There would be two clips to hang the piece on one
side of the interior and an ultra short throw projector below the
piece to project the visible light onto the garment. The clips would
ensure that there are no folds and creases in the print. The interior
would rst be ooded with UV light from LEDs to activate the
CMY dyes and turn the piece black. Then, the projector selectively
projects RGB visible light to deactivate specic colors of the piece
until the desired design is created. Since we are using a projector,
we are able to maintain the resolution of our design to be at least
720p. We would also t a camera into the interior of the appliance
on the opposing wall of the garment to approximate the amount
of material to dye based on garment size and design complexity
which allows the device to estimate the time to completion and
provide a preview to the user on the interface [
]. With visuals
of the garment, we can best approximate what dye added to the
existing color of the piece would produce the desired hue though
color mixing algorithms.
In regards to appliance maintenance, you would only need to
spray the garment with the dyes to refresh it every few washes.
Washing the garment inside-out would not remove the dye if given
enough time for the dye to settle into the garment.
3.2 User Interface
We also propose a web interface to upload new designs and share
with the Redycler community. The simple user interface in Figure
3 shows the user what their current design looks like and allows
them to pick any color to dye their selected garment. The interface
on the top would prompt the user to make selections of what design
Redycler: Daily Outfit Texture Fabrication Appliance Using Re-Programmable Dyes TEI ’22, February 13–16, 2022, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
Figure 2: We rendered a 3D model to visualize how this de-
vice would look like next to a humanoid.
Figure 3: Users can see what the garment looks like and pre-
view select colors and designs.
to apply as well as the time remaining during a print. In addition,
the user can also choose to add a custom design onto their apparel.
These custom designs can also be uploaded and shared through
an online platform. In order to expand personal fabrication to a
wider range of users, it is more accessible to simplify the process
of selecting a nished product, rather than trying to simplify the
modeling process [
]. As such, we chose to have users upload their
designs and share them with others in order to make obtaining
a design as easy as possible and build a community among users.
This will also connect people of various backgrounds together and
inspire new fashion patterns and styles.
In terms of technical limitations today, we are restricted by the
durability of these dyes’ activation because daily routines usually
involve natural sunlight which may activate or deactivate the shirt
accordingly. We also would explore increasing the speed of this
fabrication device to reach time requirements of users who want to
change their clothes in the morning. There is work in this space
with gray-scale previews being printed in less than a minute by se-
lectively saturating the dye with a UV projector, so potential future
work could be integrating rapid prototyping into our speculative
design [
]. We also have to consider the limitation of some colors
having to be approximated due to the existing color or dye of the
We imagined several scenarios for the use of this at-home appliance
for re-programming the dyes of a garment, such as customization
to revitalize a garment that the user has lost interest in or has gone
"out of style", quickly shifting the style of a garment between day
and night use, and modifying garments to emphasize the user’s
personal sense of style.
As a concrete example, a user can select a t-shirt to modify, place
it in the appliance, and then select a design that they desire for the
garment. After a few minutes of fabrication, the user can retrieve
their garment and wear it throughout the day. At the end of the day,
the user can reset the garment and select a new design to print. This
cycle of re-printing on the garment is what promotes sustainable
fashion through personal modication of the same material.
One of the goals of this design is that the device could be easily
incorporated into the user’s daily routine. The device is the size
of a small bookshelf, meaning that it is easy to place in a closet
or bedroom. Figure 4 details the journey of a garment with the
integration of this novel appliance.
Integrating the personal programmable modication of apparel into
daily life would shift the way we buy clothing because the focus of
consumerism would be on quality over clothing style. Fast fashion
today is a cheap and unsustainable way for businesses to keep up
with ever-changing fashion trends, but this design would challenge
that industry direction.
We hope this design will also promote self-expression through
the personal modication of outts as clothing and identity have al-
ways been intertwined [
]. Enabling people to be able to customize
their clothing based on their emotions is another direction fash-
ion could take with this design as there are links between fashion
purchasing process and emotions [14].
This speculative design encourages a new community of creators
to personalize the material goods they are consuming and share
those designs with others. By creating a place for users to share
their unique designs, we hope to build a community that cycli-
cally inspires each other to create personalized outts and shifts
the reliance on creativity from textile manufacturers to individual
creators [12].
Textile waste is growing in intensity as landlls expand and society
becomes increasingly consumerist and we would like to challenge
this through personal fabrication. Normally, if a garment becomes
old or boring, it goes to either the back of the closet or the garbage.
We propose an alternative home appliance that is placed in the
bedroom next to a user’s closet. This appliance enables users to
refresh their clothing with customized colors and designs, pro-
moting self-expression through evolving style while prolonging a
garment’s lifespan. The revitalization process is possible through
photochromic dye and the selective activation and deactivation
of colors to set the color of the garment with high resolution and
Similar to the recent personal computing boom, we are on the
cusp of personal fabrication becoming increasingly integrated into
TEI ’22, February 13–16, 2022, Daejeon, Republic of Korea Ritik Batra and Kaitlyn Lee
Figure 4: This is the re-imagined life-cycle of an article of clothing with this speculative design.
the home [
]. Customization of tailored artifacts is just one of the
many incentives for pushing personal fabrication towards modi-
cations [
]. We envision a new garment life-cycle that is more sus-
tainable and enables users to reuse the same fabric with constantly
changing appearances. This customization, with performance and
technical enhancements, would spark more work in fashion sustain-
ability and focus attention on garment comfort and shape rather
than branding and color.
Future designs would shift beyond just changing textile colors
and patterns to the shape of clothing to enable users to change how
their clothing ts and what aligns with current fashion style trends.
This trend also encourages future work in dynamically-changing
and reactive fashion to connect color theory to moods in older
people or even last-minute modications to outts and colors based
on event dress codes [
]. We hope that our appliance design will
inspire further development in the sustainable modication and
personalization of clothing to adapt to a user’s needs and style.
To Sarah Sterman, Katherine Song, Eric Rawn, Molly Nicholas, and
Professor Eric Paulos, for guiding and mentoring us through this
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