IAT 320 – Soft Circuit 101

Today’s IAT 320 was a blast. As usual, waking up early in the morning on a monday is no one’s favourite thing to do, but I’m glad I made it to class just in time today. I sat with Ken, Aldrich, and Ashley in our usual round table as our instructors told us what they have in store for us today. To my surprise, we’re totally off the hook with MaxMSP and have moved on to the more physical stuff like creating electric circuits using things that we wear/bring with us. For our first try, we used Aldrich‘s key with the provided conductive thread to complete the circuit and turn on the LED via a powered Arduino. We went on and tried different ways of completing the circuit, like folding the thread together to make it thicker and as a result, the LED turned brighter. Woot! We also tried using tin foil, but the LED got much dimmer as it provides a little bit of resistors in comparison to the other two.

We also tried to make a soft switch, simply using a foam and tin foil sandwich, where we put the tin foil on each side of the foam (of which has a hole in the middle of it) so that when the tin foil is pushed together down the hole, they will complete that circuit. It really was a simple switch and that made me to be excited! I usually don’t like fiddling with electronics but due to its simplicity, it made so much sense to me. It almost opened up a whole new world for me. It’s like a Soft Circuit 101 class, only much more fun than I expected it to be.

To further this new “knowledge” of using textiles and other basic stationeries to create a circuit, we’re tasked to create a simple soft circuit for next week. To change it up a little bit, I decided to work with Ashley and let Ken work with Aldrich. It would be quite interesting I think – guys vs girls! Hehe. Though we are working on two different groups, we know we want to work on a single product together, just two different features. So after brainstorming what we could possibly do, such as jewelerry (rings, bracelets), scarf, mittens, bags, shoes, etc. We decided to work with a hoodie. They will be focusing on the interaction created when the zipper is pulled up and down and ours would be on the hood itself. When the hoodie strings are pulled down and the hood is put on, it will naturally scrunch up the hood. We will be creating something like a head band to help complete the circuit and act as the other half of the switch. Here’s a sketch of what it roughly going to look like:

Screen_shot_2011-02-21_at_7

To do this, we need a few core components, such as: conductive thread, tin foil, headband, hoodie, LEDs, arduino.

Will update you more after our initial meeting tomorrow when we get bodystorm and play around with the idea more. 🙂 Wish us luck!

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