Soft Circuits

Soft Circuits: Crafting e-Fashion with DIY Electronics

Kylie Peppler
Melissa Gresalfi
Katie Salen Tekinbaş
Rafi Santo
foreword by Leah Buechley
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 408
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfb2t
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  • Book Info
    Soft Circuits
    Book Description:

    Soft Circuitsintroduces students to the world of wearable technology. Using Modkit, an accessible DIY electronics toolkit, students learn to create e-textile cuffs, "electrici-tee" shirts, and solar-powered backpacks. Students also learn the importance of one component to the whole -- how, for example, changing the structure of LED connections immediately affects the number of LEDs that light up.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-32004-7
    Subjects: Education, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. SERIES FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-viii)

    In recent years, digital media and networks have become embedded in our everyday lives and are part of broad-based changes to how we engage in knowledge production, communication, and creative expression. Unlike the early years in the development of computers and computer-based media, digital media are nowcommonplaceandpervasive, having been taken up by a wide range of individuals and institutions in all walks of life. Digital media have escaped the boundaries of professional and formal practice, and of the academic, governmental, and industry homes that initially fostered their development. Now they have been taken up by diverse populations...

  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Leah Buechley

    When I was a girl and a young woman, my favorite thing to do was to make stuff. I especially loved making fashion: clothes, handbags, shoes, and jewelry. I spent endless hours sketching, sewing, crocheting, cutting, and gluing. One summer, I spent over a month painstakingly weaving together a set of sparkly gloves from tiny seed beads. Though I haven’t worn them in years, they still occupy a special place in my jewelry box. I always prided myself in doing things that were hard. I loved making beautiful and utterly unique pieces.

    I gave my creations away to my friends,...

  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND PROJECT HISTORY
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  6. SYSTEMS THINKING CONCEPTS IN THIS BOOK COLLECTION
    (pp. xxi-xxvi)

    The goal of theInterconnections: Understanding Systems through Digital Designbook collection is to make available an accessible set of activities that can help youths develop a “systems lens” for seeing the world—a lens they can use to make sense of problems around them. Our hope is that youths will be able to see, anticipate, and understand patterns in the systems that make up that world, and use those understandings to eventually design better systems.

    In these modules, we share a range of practices and concepts related to systems thinking. These concepts by no means represent a comprehensive list...

  7. Alignment to Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
    (pp. xxvii-xxxiv)

    The following tables represent an at-a-glance view of the alignment of Design Challenges from all four books in theInterconnections: Understanding Systems through Digital Designcollection to relevant Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects. Only relevant standards are included in these tables. (For the complete list of standards, go towww.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy.)

    The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects are the result of an initiative to provide a shared national framework for literacy development to prepare youths for...

  8. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    (pp. xxxv-xxxviii)

    Because theInterconnectionsbook collection presents curricula that engage youths in design activities that embrace the sciences, the standards included in this table serve as a guide through which the challenges can be understood in conjunction with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; found atwww.nextgenscience.org/next-generation-science-standards). They do not represent an exhaustive list of all possible alignments, but rather those most prevalent and immediate to the central tasks.

    As the NGSS are explicit in assigning specific scientific topics and learning to specific grade levels, the correlations in these tables range from third grade to high school. The following tables were...

  9. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-18)

    Few would argue with the idea that the world is growing more complex as the twenty-first century unfolds. We live in a time that not only requires us to work across disciplines to solve problems, but also one in which these problems are of unprecedented scale, coming from a world that is more interconnected than ever. In such a context, power rests in the hands of those who understand the nature of the interdependent systems that organize the world, and, more important, can identify where to act or how to intervene in order to change those systems. Effective intervention requires...

  10. TOOLKIT
    (pp. 19-84)

    In this chapter, we transition from talking about the ideas and principles behind this book to share more about how they can be realized in practice. Here, we offer a toolkit and various tips on how to foster a productive climate of making with Do-It-Yourself (DIY) electronics.

    Throughout this volume, we encourage instructors to follow the spirit, rather than the letter, of the upcoming Design Challenges. Every learning environment is different——a classroom is dramatically different from a library space, which is also different from an after-school program. Every group of youths is different—tweens are not teens, youths who...

  11. DESIGN CHALLENGE OVERVIEWS
    (pp. 85-86)

    The goal of the first Design Challenge is to familiarize youths with several vital notions about systems. Youths will be introduced to the idea of electronic circuits as systems and learn to identify a system’s components (e.g., load, energy sources, and wire), behaviors (e.g., conductor versus resistor), and intended goals [e.g., to power a lightemitting diode (LED)], as well as the fact that a system’s overall function depends on its interconnections (i.e., the interactions among components and their behaviors). They also will experiment with creating a simple electronic circuit in order to light up an LED, and learn how balancing...

  12. DESIGN CHALLENGE 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE ELECTRONIC CIRCUIT Total time: 105 minutes
    (pp. 87-120)

    The goal of this challenge is to familiarize youths with the notion that all systems are made up of components, that each component has a specific set of behaviors, and that the way that a system functions depends on the interconnections among its components. In this challenge, they will be introduced to the idea of electronic circuits as systems and will learn to identify the system’s components (e.g., load, energy source, and wire), behaviors (e.g., conductor versus resistor), intended goals (e.g., to turn on a lightemitting diode [LED]), and an overall function that depends on the system’s interconnections (i.e., the...

  13. DESIGN CHALLENGE 2: E-TEXTILE CUFFS Total time: 310 minutes
    (pp. 121-168)

    The goal of this Design Challenge is to explore how a system’sstructuredetermines specific componentbehaviorsand the larger system dynamics, orinterconnections, within the context ofe-textiletools and materials. Youths will experiment with different circuit structures and battery voltages to discover how circuits can be structured, both inseriesand inparallel. They then will apply this understanding to the design and development of an electronic cuff or bracelet and are challenged to imagine, investigate, create, and write about their process.

    Youths will create a simple electronic cuff (e-cuff) from e-textile materials. The e-textile cuffs will involve...

  14. DESIGN CHALLENGE 3: ELECTRICITEE Total time: 345–435 minutes
    (pp. 169-236)

    In this Design Challenge, youths are introduced to the concept ofnested systems—systems that have their own structure but also work together to form a new system. They will explore multiple systems (a unique T-shirt design, an electronic circuit, and a computerprogramminglanguage), and examine how thegoalsandinterconnectionsof one system affect others within the context ofe-textiles. Activities incorporate amicrocontrollerthat extends youths’ circuitry knowledge from previous Design Challenges and also introduce them to the basics of fashion design and computer programming. Ultimately, youths post their projects to an online community.

    Youths will design...

  15. DESIGN CHALLENGE 4: SOLAR-POWERED BACKPACK Total time: 490 minutes
    (pp. 237-302)

    Continuing prior explorations oflimited(energy)resources in systems, youths learn about alternative energy sources through the creation of a backpack embedded with a flexiblesolar panel. Batteries with long lifespans often relegate conversations of energy as a limited resource to the background; however, powering objects with alternative energies—like water, wind, and solar—allows for a view into the systemic nature ofenergy, where it comes from, and how it can best be preserved. Youths explore the concepts ofstocks and flowsanddynamic equilibriumin play-based activities before the creation and sharing (in class and online) of their...

  16. DELVING DEEPER INTO SYSTEMS THINKING
    (pp. 303-314)

    So what is systems thinking, and why is it important? With so little time to cover what seems like so much, why should systems thinking get a seat at the educational table? We find the answer in part by looking at the vast problems in the world around us, which range from environmental degradation to global financial meltdowns, growing inequality to ballooning costs of health care, and so many more issues. At their core, these difficulties are about systems, and all can be linked fundamentally to perspective: people have a tendency to look at things in terms of isolated parts...

  17. Appendix A: GLOSSARY OF KEY TERMS
    (pp. 315-322)
  18. Appendix B: ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
    (pp. 323-328)
  19. Appendix C: SOFT CIRCUITS FORMAL ASSESSMENTS
    (pp. 329-332)
  20. Appendix D: SYSTEMS THINKING CONCEPT CARDS: SOFT CIRCUITS
    (pp. 333-342)
  21. Appendix E: UNDERSTANDING SYSTEMS: DIGITAL DESIGN FOR A COMPLEX WORLD SOFT CIRCUITS CHALLENGE CARDS
    (pp. 343-358)
  22. NOTES
    (pp. 359-360)
  23. REFERENCES AND PHOTO CREDITS
    (pp. 361-364)
  24. INDEX
    (pp. 365-368)