Seamless wearables from #DayToEvening


There’s one aim in this tinkering project; to use whatever successes, frustrations and new knowledge gleaned to plan activities and develop next generation digital making sessions.

Time to tinker and explore means ideas to be inspired, engage, collaborate and share new processes and opportunities through community, work and personal projects.

That shouldn’t be lost in the tongue in cheek approach to design thinking whereby I’m using technology as an aid to reach a goal.  And that goal is still undetermined.

But I do know that these iterations will move me that step closer to a seamless transition from day to evening wear which some friends simply nail with ease : )

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Design iterations

The MakerEd Leeds research project, and other design based activities in schools, have given numerous opportunities to explore the power of invention and self-directed learning.

I’ve been fortunate to observe examples of personalised and collaborative student approaches in schools’ maker environments, particularly interesting as learners develop complexity in their design and making practices.

For some, a shift in project purpose has emerged through iterations when ideas are revised and shared.  For others, maker has given the chance to shift end goals as new insights and skills are applied to their purpose and complexities.

Fundamentally though, it’s been reinforcement to the ideas that digital making can be self-differentiating and inclusive across key stages.

Building on complexity

Complexity can change purpose, so I’ve been tinkering with new additions, tools and resources to extend a range of wearables projects planned using Codebug.

Student projects incorporating the physical computing devices have included name badges, scrolling message boards and gaming machines.  From that has developed a wider design plan beyond code as textiles, materials and tools have been added with changes to the design plan.

One notable shift came through the addition of sensors to a project, which added complexity and the overall purpose of the project to have a safety focus rather than purely aesthetic.

Additions as project extensions, but also as ideas and inspiration for progression of personalised learning with design iterations, have come in a number of forms.

Adding light sequences with Colour Tail

Adding sound and music to projects

Adding bling possibilities to wearables with Glowbugs

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Next steps

Project Jacquard from Google has also been a catalyst to experiment with approaches to integrate woven circuits through e-textiles and explore the applications of thermochromic paint.

Using conductive thread with wearable projects has opened up many design thoughts and iterative ideas, although that came in a week of Yorkshire rain. Light and heat of an English Summer much needed to transform a wearable spectrum of colour!

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Now that we’ve successfully coated our own thread with thermochromic paint, those next steps are being formulated.

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Watch this space 🙂


Exploring recycled treasure at Scrap Leeds

I managed to pop into the Scrap Leeds Creative Reuse Art Project in Farsley this week, having heard so much about their amazing projects and space in the city.

Wow, what a treasure trove for creatives and makers!


Annual membership £6/year

Now that I’ve got my membership I’ll be popping back again soon to join the community making use and reuse of recycled materials at home, in schools, across the city and through workshops at the space.

I got the chance to take a peek at the fantastic Tinker Lab upstairs. A host of MakerEd projects are ever evolving and I really wanted to explore the robotics art projects on display.


Robot Art


Tinker Lab


Artistic Iterations

Now always on the lookout to extend a Maker library, I’m probably late to hear about Rusty the Squeaky Robot and the resulting adventures at a faraway planet.


Rusty the (Yorkshire) Rusty Robot

I’ve proudly come away with the book about Rusty who was designed and created in Leeds.  We’ll be checking out the games and the storytelling from the accompanying app too.  A true Yorkshire robot!


With a bagful of treasure, a headful of ideas and a bucket load of enthusiasm I came away from Scrap Leeds seeing again how the Maker community continues to grow and create such a buzz around the city.


George & Mildred: Camels in Residence

Link to full photo gallery from my visit here

‘Can you play your drums quietly, please?’

I admit it.  Another example of a spur of the moment rhetorical question that’s met with a bemused reaction.  Only this time there’s a pause and then a period of conversing which sparks a drum and bass focused maker project.

And the question to explore?  The one that I asked initially, really…..and a quick follow up:

  1. Is it ever possible to play drums quietly?
  2. Could it be possible with a hack or by making the kit and/or the drumsticks?

Initial thoughts: Not a Cardboard project!

All part of the problem solving and planning and eventually with a solution to explore using the Summer term’s craze with pom-pom making.

An e-textiles percussion conundrum with a solution eventually built up in just a small number of (not so silent) steps:


Step 1: Traditional Pom Pom making


Step 2: Add Conductive Yarn into the spin


Step 3: Attach some Dowel Rod and Hey Presto

Is quiet ‘quiet’ or can quiet actually become silence?

At this point the project skewed and focused on the softer side of pom-pom creation and the minimal noise level possible when playing the drums.


Step 4: Drumsticks ready, kit to play?

The intention was always to use a Touchboard to drum up the sound outputs and make the circuit connections through electric paint and conductive yarn.

Launched by connecting the drumsticks to a 2D painted drumkit, the actual drumming movements could be quiet but the whole performance could also then be silent to a nearby audience if headphones were introduced.


Step 5: Ready to rock?

Did it work?

Well yes, wool touching paint on paper can be very quiet indeed.  Particularly as the performer wears headphones!

But audience participation, review and opportunities for air drumming collaborations?

Sadly lacking something.  Substantial noise levels fitting of needing earplugs?