Coming Soon: Soft Circuit Workshop: ITP Summer 2008

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching a new class called Soft Circuit Workshop this summer at ITP! It’s all about investigating materials and techniques for creating soft, flexible, and resilient circuits that rock the ways we use and view electronics.

Here’s the course description:

Have you ever snuggled with a circuit? Standard electronic components can be hard, brittle and unfriendly. They are often unwelcome additions to soft environments like clothing, toys, tapestries or furniture. Materials such as conductive fabric and thread open up new possibilities for tactile electronics. This class provides an in-depth investigation of materials and construction techniques for creating soft and flexible circuits. There are no prerequisites – introductory electronics and sewing techniques will be reviewed. To begin, we survey both basic (conductive fabric and thread) and advanced (Luminex, etc.) materials that are on the market, assessing where to get them, how to use them, and where their potential lies. We then investigate fresh applications for commonly available materials, such as organza, steel wool, and metallic threads. Students choose a material to explore on a deeper level, defining its electrical and physical capabilities and documenting their research as part of an online reference project. In addition, discussion is devoted to outstanding needs and students are encouraged to imagine and develop materials that are entirely new. Now we’re ready to put our knowledge of materials to work. We explore construction methods and connectors for successfully integrating soft materials with standard components, learning how to create circuits that are flexible, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. Also covered are techniques for power management and insulation, wash and durability testing, laser cut fabric circuits and the Arduino Lilypad environment. Students produce a final project, creating pliable artifacts that are ground-breaking in both construction and concept.

The class runs May 19th to June 27th – six delicious weeks spent exploring the intersection between craft and electronics, body and tech. It’s 4 credits of grad-school goodness, and since it’s a summer class, you don’t have to be an ITP student to enroll. Information about registering can be found here.

Questions about the class? Email me at katehartman[at]nyu[dot]edu.

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