Tender is an expressive lighting wearable. Photo by Wetzer & Berends

An expressive lighting wearable

Tender is a garment that exhibits a structural knit textile that incorporates programmable microchips in each pocket integrated into the material. It can be programmed to react on different inputs, perform a range of actions and give desirable output. Touch sensitive garment is one of many possible applications of the developed textile. Tender is a garment that reacts to stroking. It lights up separate pockets on the body according to how they have been in contact with the skin. By stroking the garment it is possible to ‘move’ the lighted part of the wearable. It can be used to gather light around the neck, chest area for reading, and hands area for spotlight to find something in darkness or for all kind of other playful effects. Tender is a combination of structural knitting, electronics and conceptual fur-bubble inspired look. It suggests the soft light and personalized interaction to be the luxury of today.

Video of Tender in use

Multifunctional pockets

The fabric developed for Tender is a structural knit textile with pockets. Each pocket can incorporate a programmable microchip and at the same time work as a diffuser for the LED light. The back side of the pockets contain a surface from conductive thread that can be used as stretch sensor or capacitive touch sensor.

The electronics can be placed in the pocket to make a connection with the sensor yarn in the back of the pocket
The electronics can be placed in the pocket to make a connection with the sensor yarn in the back of the pocket


  • Designers: Kristi Kuusk, Martijn ten Bhömer, Paula Kassenaar
  • Partners: TU/e, TextielMuseum TextielLab, Philips & Metatronics
  • Materials: Cotton yarn, Lycra yarn, Elastic rubber, Polyester thread, Elektrisola textile wire, Bekinox conductive thread, LEDs, Custom LED CRISP electronics, Battery
  • Techniques: Stoll knit & wear knitting, Overlocking, Hand sewing, Soldering, Programming
  • My role in collaboration: Conceptualize the product with the other designers, Collaborate on the development of the fabric, Responsible for the integration of the electronics in the fabric & development and manufacturing of the LED PCB
Martijn ten Bhömer
Martijn ten Bhömer
Co-founder & CTO

Specialized in the design, research and development of intelligent products.