Saturday, July 31, 2010

Purdue SPIRIT Camp 7/26/10

On Monday our 3 person team (Ben, Charlene & myself) led circuit workshops for the high school attendees of the SPIRIT Project at Purdue in Lafayette, IN ( "The goal of SPIRIT can be found in its full name -- Surprising Possibilities Imagined and Realized through Information Technology (IT). The SPIRIT project celebrates the immense impact that information technology has on our world and seeks to rekindle enthusiasm for the field as a career choice among high school students, especially young women".  The room we were assigned was a high tech conference room with rows of tables with comfy roller chairs on only one side.  The seating next to one another was important for the sharing of information and techniques.

We led four one hour sessions (30-40 youth, counselors in each session). Each session covered a quick intro to e-textiles, showing of a few physical examples of circuit projects (pillows, t-shirt, bag) then Ben explained his POV band.  We briefly discussed the LilyPad Arduino and the variety of sensors in the Lilypad kit then jumped into the circuit kits (3V battery, battery holder, LilyPad LED, push button switch, needle, conductive thread & small material swatches). 

Even though this series was the quickest of our recent workshops the circuit projects were the most varied.  Part of the reason was the access to a large supply of puffy paints. Secondly, we added a few design slides in our presentation suggesting various loop shapes, initials or thinking about using their favorite SillyBanz shape.  Third, the older group was thinking of how they could hide certain elements (e.g. battery holder, switch). This seemed to add to the project interest and personalization of their quick circuit.

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