• hacking wearables & e-textiles

    Nowviskie's Soft Circuit Merit Badge: close the circuit and light the red LED by clicking the flower (sewn with conductive thread) to the metal snap.

    On Saturday at Great Lakes THATCamp, Bill Turkel and I will be hosting a workshop entitled “Hacking Wearables and E-Textiles.” I think of this kind of activity as “soft circuits work — but there’s no reason your wearable or hand-crafted tech has to be soft (or domestic, or gendered in any way) — even if our supplies list includes grosgrain ribbon and something called a “Foof a la Bag o’ Buttons.”

    Bill and I will have a chance, at Great Lakes, to give a brief overview of interesting work happening in the wearables arena, and to talk about why we decided to partner in this way. (Hint: when we saw the applicant pool, Bill was thrilled that women were signing up, while I was relieved it wasn’t going to be the all-girl ghetto of THATCamp.) If you’re new to all this, we’ll also share resources and avenues to keep you going when you return home. (It was Bill’s Arduino class at the very first THATCamp, followed by Dan Chudnov‘s Processing tutorial, that got me started!)

    We’re planning the class to appeal to experienced and inexperienced participants alike. As a warm-up exercise, we’ll take on this concept from Evil Mad Science Laboratories: a merit badge that (if you’ve sewn the circuit correctly) merits itself, by lighting an LED. My prototype is above (and see it light up here). It should be fun to see the variety of battery-powered, glowing nerdiness our fellow THATCampers design!

    This has just been a teaser post. Time permitting, I’ll share some other wearable tech concepts before the 20th. Bring your thimbles, if you’ve got ‘em!