MAS.962 | Spring 2010 | Graduate

Special Topics: New Textiles

Assignment 4: Yarn

Assignment 4: Digital Quipu

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By Rizal Muslimin

Digital Quipu: inspiration and design. (Left image (c) Mary Frame, from “Ancient Cloth…Ancient Code?” All rights reserved. This content is excluded from our Creative Commons license. For more information, see

My yarn is highly inspired by Quipu, an ancient counting devices from the Inca Empire in which knotted string act as a number for record keeping and record communication purposes (census record, state storehouse inventories, etc). This project is essentially transforming the analog ‘quipu’ into a digital ‘quipu’ by substituting the knot with the PCB and the cord with conductive and non-conductive yarn. Here, the size is scaled up to three times than the original intention [9 mm in diameter].


In this 2 yards digital quipu, there are 12 yarns ‘knotted’ with 18 PCB’s with the rules: 1 -> 5 and 5 -> 1 to create a triangular composition. The rules can later be parameterized with other types of rhythm or composition (a-b-a-b / a-a-b-b / a-a-a-b, etc).

Sequence of photos showing wool and cotton yarn plus small masonite triangles for the PCB, and the 1->5 / 5->1 yarn pattern.

Design elements of digital quipu.

Close up view of the yarn.

Total Diameter: 3 cm in triangular shape  
Total length: 1.825 meters .  
Wool fiber length: ~300 millimeters | twist direction: Z - 3 turns per inch | diameter: 3000 ~ 5000  
Cotton fiber length: ~300 millimeters | twist direction: S ~2 turns per inch | diameter : 5.5 sts to 1 In  
PCB: 4.19 cm2 | 3 for Positive Pin, 3 for Negative Pin, and 6 for MOSI, MISO, RESET and SCK pins

Special thanks to Ayu for helping me out.

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Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2010
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Other Video
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Projects with Examples
Design Assignments with Examples