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Wearable Electronics Class


21 Lessons

7,949 Enrolled

Beginner Level

In the class, you will learn how to build wearable electronics and program interactions using the Arduino software.

Perhaps you know how to sew but have always wanted to learn more about electronics. Or, you have used a microcontroller before but want to know what conductive fabric is all about. In this class, we will cover the hardware, software and the sewing that it takes to start you off and running towards building interactive and well-crafted projects.

You will learn techniques and apply new concepts by building a sewn circuit pin, two kinds of soft switches, a flex sensor and by making your microcontroller modular. You will also learn about digital and analog inputs and outputs through building the two main projects: The Hi-5 Collector and the Slouch Alert. The Hi-5 Collector is a project that makes social interaction game-like by introducing a goal achieved by collecting high-fives. The Slouch Alert project uses a handmade sensor to read a body's movements and notifies you when you are slouching. As a bonus, you will also learn how to easily trigger sound clips using the Slouch Alert circuit!

Enter an Instructables contest!

If you use the skills you learn in this class to create an awesome project, write an instructable about it and enter it in our Microcontroller Contest to win some great prizes!

Class Author:push_reset

Lara has been building soft circuits and wearable electronic projects for almost 10 years. Some projects include musical interfaces, LED-encrusted products and lots of research and experimentation with techniques and materials.

She has taught workshops at various conferences, festivals, and universities and currently teaches a class at California College of the Arts called Wearable and Soft Interactions.

You can find out more about me on my personal website

Class Teacher Assistant:bekathwia


Lesson 1: Welcome

Learn about the projects you will be making in this class, the instructor, and a thing or two about the history of wearable technology.

Lesson 2: Tools and Materials

A complete material list for the class.

Lesson 3: Introduction to Electronics

What is a circuit and how do you read resistance and voltage with a multimeter?

Lesson 4: Sew a Circuit

Learn how to use conductive thread through sewing a light-up circuit.

Lesson 5: Introducing the Soft Switch

Learn what a switch is, why you would make it soft and how to design one for a physical action.

Lesson 6: Introducing the Microcontroller + Arduino

Learn what a microcontroller is and the concepts you need to know while working with one.

Lesson 7: Making Connections + Modularity

Learn how to connect components together when building wearable electronics.

Lesson 8: Digital Output

In this lesson, you will upload your first sketch to the microcontroller and learn how to change the code to get different results.

Lesson 9: Digital Input

Learn how to read the switch you made and turn on an LED.

Lesson 10: Hi-5 Collector Circuit

Build the final project circuit and upload the final project sketch.

Lesson 11: Make a Simple Pattern

Take measurements and learn how to make a pattern fitted to your hand.

Lesson 12: Transfer Circuit to Fabric

In this lesson, learn how to transfer the final circuit to fabric.

Lesson 13: Power-up

Put the finishing touches on your final project and get it mobile by powering it with a battery.

Lesson 14: Finish the Hi-Collector!

This is the final lesson for the Hi-5 Collector project. Learn different ways to cover and protect a soft circuit and how to diffuse a light with common craft materials. Get out there and get some high-fives!

Lesson 15: Analog Output

Learn how to fade an LED by closing a switch and how to use the vibe board.

Lesson 16: Analog Input

Build your own flex sensor and learn how to read and use its values.

Lesson 17: Reading Body Movement

In this lesson, you will learn how to experiment with sensor placement in order to read a body's movements and choose the final placement for the Slouch Alter project.

Lesson 18: Slouch Alert Circuit

Build the final project circuit and upload the final project sketch.

Lesson 19: Transfer Circuit to T-shirt

In this lesson, you will transfer the Slouch Alert circuit to a t-shirt. Instead of using conductive for the traces, this time you will learn how to build the circuit using conductive fabric.

Lesson 20: Finish the Slouch Alert and Make Noise!

This is the last lesson for the Slouch Alert project. Here I demo the Slouch Alert and share some bonus material on how to turn your LilyPad USB into a keyboard to get it triggering some cool sounds!

Lesson 21: Where to Go From Here

Learn how to care for your wearable projects, what to make next and how to get more supplies to experiment with!

Now that you have the skills, what are you waiting for?
Get out there and make something!