Sunday, August 2, 2015

Soft Circuits Workshop

Attended a workshop on July 29 titled To Code and Beyond: Soft Circuits. Workshop was led by Dr. Kylie Peppler of Indiana University.

It was a rushed four hours, but I'm excited to further explore the concepts and techniques I heard about. First off, soft circuits is related to physical computing. We worked with electronic and electrical components attached to textiles (felt and t-shirts) using conductive thread connect piece to piece. There is a lot more subtlety to the concept that can be covered in a short workshop, but we focused on LilyPad Arduino microprocessors.

So now I'm working on my first solo project.

I've attached the LilyPad to an old shirt. As you do this, you have to think about the "wiring" that will eventually connect other components sewn to the shirt. I've chose to put the ground (negative) terminal to the top, thinking I'll route all the positive connections low, and then have all the components share a bus back to the negative high.

I'm not sure how expensive conductive thread is (we got a couple bobbins of stainless steel thread on leaving the workshop) but, to save I've attached the LilyPad using normal polyester thread. Note I've used an embroidery hoop to hold my surface flat. I've attached at the negative terminal, and digital terminal 11. From here, I'll use conductive thread.

I'm also not sure what will happen with the battery. The Arduino needs power, but that lithium ion battery shouldn't be just dangling. On the other hand, I need to be able to detach it easily for washing, so I can't sew it firmly in place. Needs some thought.