Leah Buechley and Instructables Written Up by Forbes: "A Blinking Fashion Statement"
For all their talk of breaking glass ceilings, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have nothing on Leah Buechley.
In the several years since she first sewed a circuit board to a T-shirt, the 31-year-old University of Colorado computer-science researcher has done a lot to bring gender equality to the world of do-it-yourself, perhaps shattering a certain silicone-based ceiling once and for all.
"The tinkering group has always been a boys' club," says Buechley, referring to the DIY movement's loosely formed faction of tech geeks, gear heads and circuit wizards who tinker with electronic gadgets in basements and garages across America. At the same time, she says, the arts-and-crafts contingent (think knitters, sewers and silkscreeners) has traditionally been a more feminine domain.
True to their fashion roots, DIY wearables are not always practical. A recent tutorial on Instructables.com gives readers a step-by-step for making what the author calls a "wearable waste of energy": a sweatshirt affixed with a glowing light-emitting diode (LED).
"It's not purely functional," says Syuzi Pakhchyan, author of the new book Fashioning Technology. "It's functional and aesthetic."
"Turn your favorite clothing item into a wearable waste of energy!" writes Hannah Perner-Wilson in her tutorial on Instructables.com. The project is as much a teaching tool as it is a fashion statement. Perner-Wilson takes readers step-by-step through how to use conductive fabric, pressure sensors and a vibration motor to make a final product. She also encourages fellow tech-crafters to think about making the shirt less wasteful: "Solar cells are an option," she writes.
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