Wearable, Computationally Enhanced Crafts

These examples are illustrative of the dynamic and expressive possibilities of craft when interwoven with computation.

image showing a Craft Tech electronic sewing kit We recently (3/12/05) ran a workshop where young girls became familiar with the basics of electronic circuits as they sewed conductive thread, LEDs and switches unto denim. image showing students in the workshop

The picture on the right shows tiny LEDs and a microchip sewn unto denim. The embroidered wires wrap around conductive fabric that take signals to and from electronic components. Power is provided via the snaps on the left, allowing the wearer to instantly snap on such electronic craft unto t-shirts, for instance. The movie depicts a two-cycle blinker from Conway's "Game of Life".

image showing a 4x4 array of LEDs and light sensitive cells This prototype jean fabric was created by Leah Buechley, and contains 16 LEDs, 16 light sensors, and a small number of integrated chips. When powered, the lights respond to the presence or absence of a shadow, enabling children to create enriched versions of rhinestone craft, like the one to the right.

Another example - also by Leah - of blending craft with computation, is this silhouette holding up what look like traffic lights. The silhouette is a laser cut version of an actual picture, done on felt, and sewn to a background fabric. Also sewn to the fabric are lengths of conductive thread that create the circuitry to blink the lights. image showing a 4x4 array of LEDs

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