Sunday, August 1, 2010

e-Textiles at The Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp Part II

Setting for the e-textile circuit at IU
The second part of the circuit workshop (e-textile) at the summer camp  was inclusive of all attendees and took place from 6:30 till 9pm on July 21st.  Due to the logistics and the number of attendees (all 60-70) the location was moved to a computer lab. Additionally, due to the number of attendees our staff grew to include Kylie, Charlene, Ben and myself, with Erin assisting on the cameras.

Bug Stitching Sheet
The session started with the attendees sewing (with regular thread) a running stitch sheet, designed by our own Charlene.  (The 3 sheet sewing sheet series can be downloaded at the Boys & Girls Club blog)  This helped the attendees become familiar on how to thread the Clover self-threading needles and aided them in understanding the running stitch we would be using with the conductive thread in the next circut project.

Then the fun began!  A brief introduction to circuitry followed including circuits, shorts and switches. (see the attached HSCCircuit.pdf file for the slides presented. Note a number of slides are from Leah Buechley's presentation, which she generously passed on for us to use.)

After introducing the parts in their kits (e.g. LilyPad LED, push button switch, battery holder and 3V coin cell battery) we repeatedly stressed the importance of sewing through the part holes 2x’s (for connectivity and to secure the parts to the fabric), where to start (with a knot) and where to knot and cut off.  However, as much as we attempted to stress the looping 2x’s, knotting and cutting we still encountered a few circuits sewn in a continuous loop, or a parts’ + and – terminals connected with one continuous sewn piece of conductive thread.

Diane & Charlene point out START & STOP points
To highlight the importance of the stop and start sewing points on the circuit, Charlene added post-it notes to the projected slide on the wall. One camp leader confessed he was rushing to complete the circuit and stitched all the way around in one solid running stitch…a common mistake : -) (FYI This attached set of slides has been sent back for clarification…see the SPIRIT blog post for the latest slide update.)
Helping out a friend

But, all in all, the vast majority of attendees finished their circuit within the allotted time. After finishing their circuit many had time to assist their friends in finishing their circuit as well. 

For the attendees, the moment of satisfaction seemed to come when they first pushed the button switch and the LED lit.  One girl even had me push the button on her circuit after we troubleshot it…but her face still showed the excitement of her first completed sewn circuit!

*A special thanks to Kalani Craig for the use of her “running stitch” jpg file on the stitching sheets.

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