EDET 678 Week 10: Essential Question: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

Aleta May

Emerging Technologies

Initial Blog Post EDET678 Week 10

Essential Question; Week Ten: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

There are some students who may be attracted to programming and electronics by using it for art and clothing, who would otherwise never be interested in electrical circuitry or computer programming. Going through to look over what is available for younger students through high school was very fun and very eye opening to me.

Specially designed Kuspuks might interest some of our students as well. This image was taken from Bing:



As I watched the light show of Qi’s Interactive light show, I saw nature expressed as clouds, the effect of time lapse and the overlapping of music and drawing. Then I saw Qi blow on the white puffs to watch the seeds disperse, generating new flowers— with the use of LED lights with sensors receptive to her breath, a science lesson was taught through art.

How beautiful it was to see that the drawings were exposed to be copper tape, buttons and what looked like a connecting piece that may have connected these copper conductors to microcontrollers. I clicked on the embedded link and learned that I was right about the circuitry being made up of microcontrollers, LEDs and of course microphones to produce the music. Programmable Paintings take in elements of art and painting, with the addition of “interactivity of electronics and computation” (http://technolojie.com/pu-gong-ying-tu-dandelion-painting/). I clicked here for the sound code: http://technolojie.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Dandelion_painting.txt This could be used much like the Arduino kit, but I would need to dig a little deeper to find out where to actually copy and paste the code or how to use it for a project with students.

I have a Circuit Sticker Sketchbook by Jie Qi that I recently received. I was excited to dig deeper into Qi’s Dandelion links to reach this link: http://technolojie.com/circuit-sticker-sketchbook/ This book is designed to build into the pages in the book. From there, there is a Sketchbook sample for creating a book that combines circuits + origami. I found out by going to the chibitronics store, they sell a classroom pack (for 30 students) for $110. This would be a good way to get kids started since it has templates to follow.

Designing electronics is generally cumbersome and expensive — or used to , until Leah Buechley and her team at MIT developed tools to treat electronics just like paper and pen. In this talk from TEDYouth 2011, Buechley shows some of her designs, including a paper piano you can sketch and then play. This came from Leah Buechley: How to “sketch” with electronics YouTube link: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI

Mellis, (2014) Leah Buechley created the LilyPad Arduino. The projects sound like such a fun way to teach basic programming and electronics. Leah’s graduate student , Kanju Qiu, is a co-author with her for Sew Electrick: A collection of DIY projects that combine fabric, electronics, and programming. This quote really really stood out to me: “We aimed to design projects that are fun and whimsical but also complex and challenging. We assume that our readers have no previous experience, but limitless ability.” The projects listed for children in this article sound exactly like what I would like to try with our students.

I agree with Buechley that there is a strong “creative artistic medium” to sewing electric, and making “mass produced products” may occur, but then the personal uniqueness intrigue will be lost. Wow—she is drawing in on large-scale architectural work now—even designing a home and studio with her partner to develop a maker space. As Buechley articulated, “It’s wonderful to be soldering, programming, sewing, and painting again!” I can see myself doing this grandma style a year from Christmas break in our outside room Dan and I are building for ourselves next summer.

Using a LilyPad to communicate with a computer, students can “build a soft piano that plays music both on your computer and through a sewn-in speaker” in about 4-10 days. Electronic materials for this include: Lilypad Arduino simple snap, LilyPad speaker and protoboard, FTDI breakout board, conductive thread and a mini-USB cable.


As I looked over this FLORA Ardino Compatable Wearable platform, then read down to where it suggested a mico-lipo charger to reduce fire risks (especially with fabric), my first reaction is that they should just raise the price and put this into the set. When compared to the Lilypad, the FLORA is lighter, has bigger pads and the with larger holes that are easy to use with alligator clips (which many prefer to use). It is a Field Transmitter that now works with Arduino devices (and others) that have alligator clips. (7/13/2016).

The light up and flash skirt (with LEDs) is activated by the FLORA motion sensor. It is connected to with pixels through conductive thread that is all connected to the FLORA mainboard. The code can be adjusted for sensitivity to motion by changing one number. The battery is removed to hand-wash clothing. Air-dry all the way before adding the battery back in. This looks very popular for prom night: https://www.adafruit.com/products/659


Adafruit—FLORA – Wearable electronic platform: Arduino-compatible – v3. Flora arduino microcircuits (projects at the bottom):

Qi, J (2012). Interactive light painting: Pu gong ying tu (dandelion painting). Retrieved 7-17-2016 at: https://vimeo.com/40904471 Sparkle skirt with flora motion sensor: https://www.adafruit.com/products/659

Buechley, L. (November 15, 2012). Leah Buechley: How to “sketch” with electronics (Sketching Electronics):  Retrieved 7-17-2016 at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI  Ted Talks

Mellis, D. (Feb. 4th, 2014). Sew Electric with Leah Buechley—Interview.

Chibitronics (2014). Electronics for everyone: Create, craft, code with Chibitronics circuit stickers. https://chibitronics.com

Chibitronics: http://store.chibitronics.com/collections/all

Fabric piano: http://sewelectric.org/diy-projects/5-fabric-piano/

Einarson, E. (01.01.13). Go bionic with these wearable arduino projects. Retrieved 7-17-2016 at: http://www.wired.com/2013/01/wearable-arduinos/

Soft Piano Image:


Picture for Kuspuk pictures were found on bing by typing in kuspuk images.


6 thoughts on “EDET 678 Week 10: Essential Question: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

  1. daysha2016

    Aleta, I agree that crafting may be another avenue to teach electronics and programing to students who might not be interested in it otherwise. I also love the idea of the light up Kuspuks! What a great way to blend cultural traditions with new technologies! Can you imagine if they designed it to look like the northern lights?

    1. aletakmay Post author

      Daysha, I had not even thought of the northern lights idea! A fading in and out on curved lines going down the back (especially in colors from whitish to greens! I was trying to think of using LEDs on the ric/rac zig/zag design they usually sew in, but didn’t really feel that was creative enough. We have group intellect going on here! Thank you for that, Daysha, because I am beginning to better understand how powerful that can be.


  2. Sara Lucas

    I was thinking Kuspuks would be a great place to start as well. Our school’s dance team is huge and to get all students involved in some aspect of it would be great for school spirit. I agree that this week was eye opening. There were so many projects that blew my mind. I play the piano a little bit and thinking about building my own soft piano would be so cool! To build something of your own that is useful in your own life seems like the biggest benefit, and that is a pretty big benefit. Students challenge their own creativity and learn new things along the way. I can’t imagine a better way of learning.

  3. Pingback: Reflection for Week 10, EDET678; Essential Question: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person? | aleta57

  4. Sarah K


    I like this sentence here, “There are some students who may be attracted to programming and electronics by using it for art and clothing, who would otherwise never be interested in electrical circuitry or computer programming.” I think it’s so important to show students alternative ways of using things that doesn’t fit into what they would normally think of. I think electronics and programming are going to be crucial skills for many students in the future, so hopefully we can get everyone doing it! I really liked the different types of electronics you talked about in your post, and I am very intrigued by the Circuit Sticker Sketchbook you mentioned. I will most definitely be looking into that!


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