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Textile Messages

Dispatches From the World of E-Textiles and Education

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Edited By Leah Buechley, Kylie Peppler, Michael Eisenberg and Yasmin Kafai

Textile Messages focuses on the emerging field of electronic textiles, or e-textiles – computers that can be soft, colorful, approachable, and beautiful. E-textiles are articles of clothing, home furnishings, or architectures that include embedded computational and electronic elements. This book introduces a collection of tools that enable novices – including educators, hobbyists, and youth designers – to create and learn with e-textiles. It then examines how these tools are reshaping technology education – and DIY practices – across the K-16 spectrum, presenting examples of the ways educators, researchers, designers, and young people are employing them to build new technology, new curricula, and new creative communities.
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Vignette: LilyPad Arduino Embroidery

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The LilyPad Arduino Embroidery (2008) is a sampler of stitches and electronic components, combining traditional embroidery floss with lights and sounds generated by the program running on the tiny sewable LilyPad circuit board. The speed of the flashing lights and pitch of the sound are related to a light sensor’s readings.

Just as colored shapes of stitched floss make up the embroidered design, strands of conductive thread form pathways for electricity to travel across the surface of the fabric. The design makes the circuit’s connections visible on purpose, so that the viewer can discover how it works. In this sense the design is open source.

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