Friday, July 21, 2017

Threading the Needle with E-Textiles...

Here at the WiTNY Summer Guild, I just had a chance to sit in on an e-textile workshop.  E-textiles are fabrics that have embedded electronic circuitry, and are being manufactured more and more to include sensors that can regulate temperature, change the color of the garment, display lighting, and more.

The E-Textile Lounge is a great place to start exploring some of the possibilities, and to immerse yourself in a starter project.  Personally, I'm a fan of this easy-to-DIY Virtual Reality Glove...

In a broader context, e-textiles are also being used to help teach basic Computer Science principles and the logic of circuitry, and some scholarship has begun on the best ways to incorporate e-textiles into curriculum at both the college and K-12 levels.

So what I produced at this workshop was the following children's decorative bracelet.  When you snap the two ends together, an LED light is triggered, and the thread itself is the conductor.  Try not to be too overwhelmed with its amazingness.

Seriously though, I found that the actual skill of sewing was more of a challenge than the electronic component itself.  And therein may lie the lesson... that the high-tech push into a traditional space like fabric and garments may actually exacerbate the demand for old-world skills like sewing and even, despite my best efforts, threading a needle.

A video tutorial by my pal, Diane Levitt...



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