Friday, August 6, 2010

e-Textiles @ the Boys and Girls Club - The Finale

Slide of the LilyPad POV
The second week at the club (June 14-18) started with the next level of circuitry…using multiple LEDs! But first we administered the second part of the sticker pretest (the backside) then we let the youth play with alligator clips and the parts in constructing the series/parallel circuits they just designed on their pretest. After the hands on play Ben and Alex presented a brief lesson on electricity then the two groups watched a Bill Nye The Science Guy episode on electricity to reinforce many of the principles just discussed.  The youth were asked if they wanted to make the POV band or the interactive glove…the POV was chosen!

Finished POV Band
With an understanding of multiple LEDs and an introduction to the LilyPad Arduino, Ben proceeded onto their next project, the POV wrist band. You can see Ben’s first version using 7 LilyPad LEDs on YouTube at (Note: the youth version, used because of a smaller wrist diameter, only uses 5 LEDs and still maintains a visual display.)  As Ben wrote in his posting “Persistence of Vision (POV) is the illusion that an image continues to persist even though the image has changed.   In essence, we are taking advantage of the limitations of the brain-eye processing time.”

In addition, due to the Arduino based programming of the LilyPad, a program was written so the youth wouldn’t have to write code.  They would only select a 3-5 letter word/name to display, then Alex and/or Ben would program the microprocessor.  The result is when the band is waved in a darkened space their word choice would display.

Mid construction with stickers

The steps for constructing the POV for the youth followed the same pattern:
1)    Use stickers (Lilypad, battery holder, 5 LEDs) to draw the diagram in their journal and have it checked off on.
2)    Select a piece of fleece fabric of their color choice, secure it in the hoop, and place stickers on the fabric to reflect the journal diagram.
3)    Visit the check station and obtain the LilyPad and battery holder to sew the + and – battery connections first.
4)    After the battery connection is tested each LED is obtained at their table.

Programming Station
After completing the conductive thread sewing and the project was checked, the youth visited the sewing machine station. There the LilyPad elements on the fleece were trimmed to a rectangle size and machine stitched to a 3” wide black elastic band already stitched with Velcro strips for easy fitting.

2 Superheros in the making
The next and last stop was the programming and photography station where the LilyPad Arduino was then programmed with their word/name choice and a photo was taken of the LED display and youth with their superhero like wrist band.

One common mistake we found was the over generous application of the nail polish to secure the knots.  We found if the knots were on the backside of the material there is less chance the LilyPad holes would be varnished with nail polish (which could block a secure connection to the conductive thread)

One of the post tests
We also noted that the multiple LED discussions, hands on time, 2nd half of pretest and post tests (same as the pretest with an added more traditional working/not working choice test…see pic) and POV build took approximately 4 days (2 hours/day) to complete, depending on the attendance & persistence of the youth.

Last day preparations
The workshop ended with an open house and pizza party the last hour on Friday, June 18th for all parents, siblings and other club members to attend.  Some youth were working up till the last minute to finish their projects to display.  They proudly wore and laid out their nonwearable projects they constructed during the past 2 weeks.  Kylie welcomed the parents and explained what their children had been part of for the past two weeks, then the workshop youth were able to show off all of their accomplishments to everyone.  When the other club members visited the room they were extremely excited about the completed projects and wanted to join in next time…to which we replied…”sign up time will be in the fall!”
Wearables & projects ready for the show!

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