Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Digital Medial and Learning Conference - DML 2010

Below is an excerpt from the Voyager blog on the Digital Medial and Learning Conference http://dmlcentral.net/conference/conference-program second day workshop on Computational Textiles held in La Jolla, CA Feb 18-20th:

the fifth session i attended was a workshop chaired by Kylie Peppler, led by Leah Buechley, and which comprised Mike Eisenberg, Yasmin Kafai, Alan Gershenfeld and Heidi Schelhowe. being a workshop, this session was very different from any of the preceding four, in that we actually worked in groups to design and build a quick and dirty working electrical circuit! the session was entitled 'Computational textiles as New Media texts: Digital Media learning in youth and DIY communities'. motivated by the maxim of "digital media beyond the screen" (which manifested itself in "constructing / building, not just consuming"), Leah (examples of the work which she and her colleagues have been working on are here, here, here and here) opened by reminding us of the historical roots of the workshop in the work of the New London group back in 1996. an insight i took away from this workshop was that atomic fabs are able to traverse spaces in ways different from their virtual counterparts; they are also (in the particular example of computational textiles) able to traverse what might otherwise be perceived as traditional gender divides. i will remember this session as the very first time i have ever taken needle and thread to sew anything. you can see the results of my group's (including a former member of the FabLab and a QUT faculty member) collaborative handiwork in the photograph below :-)

See full post at: http://voyager.blogs.com/voyeurism/2010/02/digital-media-and-learning-dml2010-conference---notes-from-the-second-day.html

1947 The Original HeathKit Collection

Here's a blast from the past if you're into electronic kits...http://www.heathkit.org/

Monday, February 22, 2010

Est Today-Join the Fashion Revolution

Where can a young girl go when she wants to create a wardrobe all her own? No, not the mall, where grown-ups have already created pieces for her, but to her computer, where she can tap into her inner design maven and call her own style shots. Poised to transform the way young girls interact with and purchase clothing, Est. Today is an online fashion studio that gives tweens the creative license and platform to create, showcase and buy clothing they design themselves.

"Est. Today is all about handing over fashion control to the girls," says CEO David Cote. "By giving them the collaborative tools and guidance to design their own fashion, and allowing them to share these designs with their friends, we're starting a Fashion Revolution based on empowerment."

Join the Revolution at http://www.esttoday.com/!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Barbie’s Next Career? Computer Engineer!

Barbie, whose various careers have taken her from aerobics instructor to supermodel to business executive, will next be a computer engineer, a career chosen by half a million Barbie fans.

Computer Engineer Barbie still has her trademark cascade of blond hair, impossibly small waist, feet frozen on tiptoes to slide into her high heels and a whole lot of hot pink.

She also wears a neon-colored T-shirt with a binary code pattern and carries a smartphone and a Bluetooth headset. Her hot pink glasses will come in handy during late nights coding on her hot pink laptop. Before any one begins complaining, Mattel points out that her accessories were chosen with the help of the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering.

Computer engineer will be the 126th career for Barbie, who turned 50 last year. For the first time, Mattel, which makes the doll, asked people to vote for her career, choosing among computer engineer, architect, environmentalist, news anchor and surgeon.

The choice of computer engineer — a field in which men far outnumber women and in which women’s participation has been declining — was announced Friday at the New York Toy Fair.

Lynn Langit, a developer evangelist at Microsoft who teaches programming to girls and works on a Microsoft program called DigiGirlz that teaches girls about technology careers, said she was thrilled about Barbie’s next career.

“We can use any sort of positive influence that we have, because the number of girls studying programming is abysmal,” she said.

Her only suggestion: that Barbie get a multi-touch netbook next. “If Barbie needs any training, I would be happy to provide it,” she said.

Posted in NYT 2/16/10

Friday, February 12, 2010

E-Textiles: Moving Beyond the Screen Part 2

When each participant reached their table a circuit kit (see pic) was already at each seat with the parts needed including: 1 LED, 1 Battery Holder, 1 Coin Cell Battery, 1 Push Button Switch, Conductive Thread, Needle, circuit diagram and fabric (for those who didn't bring an item to sew a circuit on.

After Kylie's presentation the partipants delved into their projects:

Below are some of the finished projects from the InWIC workshop

Saturday, February 6, 2010

E-Textiles: Moving Beyond the Screen - Circuitry for the masses @ InWIC Conference

Last night, Friday Feb 5th, Dr. Kylie Peppler broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest assembly of females (and one male) sewing a circuit using LilyPad parts (just kidding on the Guinness part!). Our current guesstimation is Kylie and her IU team (Charlotte Volk, Ben Zaitlen, and myself) serviced 115 attendees during the Indiana Women in Computing (InWIC) Conference late night workshop at the Canyon Inn.

The crowd started gathering a little before 9:30pm with the programming starting at 9:45 running until midnight. Kylie started off with a presentation on e-textiles, discussing how robotics is primarily taken up by the male population (although many females in this particular group had experience with robotics) and how the LilyPad kit allows those normally excluded in this field to actively participate. After looking at examples of LilyPad projects (e.g. Becky Stern's embroidery piece, Hanna's Puppeter, stuffed animal control unit from USC, etc.) the presentation ventured into the Fashion World looking at the recent Grammy Twitter dress, Maggie Orth's work and the mesmerizing Cute Circuit dress currently displayed at the Museum of Science and Technology in Chicago among others.

With this inspiration the workshop attendees then delved into the designing and building of their own circuit. With the workshop being set up in the dining/meeting area using the circular tables as workstations it was easy to form the immensely popular socially based 'sewing circles' enabling the attendees to share concepts, techniques, materials as well as numerous stories. Check back in a few days for pictures of the event and projects!

Looking for an e-textile career? Check out Smart Fabrics 2010...

The 6th annual Smart Fabrics 2010 is taking place April 14 - 16 in Miami, Florida. Smart Fabrics 2010 is the top event for the industry, featuring 40+ presentations from leaders across the smart textiles supply chain http://www.smartfabricsconference.com/. While much of the focus is on the commercial aspect of e-textiles, special attention will be paid to the current status of innovative smart fabric technologies in the marketplace, as well as recent application breakthroughs. The conference will be of particular interest for people involved in electronics, textiles, medical, sporting equipment, fashion, and healthcare industries, as well as military/space agencies and the investment community.
Two pre conference seminars include: 'Wearable Electronics for Illuminated Costumes & Clothing' with Janet Hansen, founder and chief fashion engineer of Enlighted Designs and an interactive, hands on 'Do It Yourself' with Leah Buechley, assistant professor at MIT and Director of the High-Low Tech Group at MIT's Media Lab. (Leah is also the creator of the LilyPad Arduino computational textile tool set)

Speaking at the event is Alison Lewis, author of Switch Craft, one of the leading books in the field including 20 DIY projects integrating sewing, craft and electronics. See website for the list of speakers and the conference agenda: http://www.smartfabricsconference.com/