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!

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