Welcome to the Tech Crafts class!
What kind of tech crafts materials/projects are you interested in? What do you hope to learn in this class? Give us a bit of background: What previous experience do have with electronics, smart materials and programming? Do you have a microcontroller (arduino, etc.)?
Overview of the course
- Classes will be part lecture, part hands-on activities.
- Two guest lecturers: Marianne Petit on September 21, Hannah Perner-Wilson on September 28.
- Class blog: all information and resources for the course will be posted here. You’re also required to post a description of your weekly assignments on the blog. Login with your netID. Make sure to categorize your posts “assignment” and tag them with your name so I can find them.
- Please remember to bring required materials to class whenever specified. Here is a list of materials and tools that you should bring to every class.
- Materials library: ITP has a small one! Let’s use it and make it better/bigger!
- Soft Lab and Crafts Meetups
- This is a new class and will be changing and evolving weekly. Please ask questions if anything isn’t clear. I will keep you posted of any changes, but check the class blog frequently.
Grading is based on successful completion of all assignments, midterm and final projects, posts on the class blog, class participation and attendance. Since the program is Pass/Fail, 80% and above will be considered Pass.
- Attendance: 30%. Missing more than 2 classes or being late to more than 5 classes is an automatic failure. If you’re going to be late or absent, please email me in advance. If you have an emergency, please let me know as soon as you can.
- Participation & Assignments: 30%. Assignments are due the week after (unless otherwise notified). Every assignment should be accompanied by a tutorial/description posted on the class blog.
- Projects (midterm and final): 40%
Assignments & Projects
Weekly assignments are due the week after unless otherwise notified.
Midterm projects are due October 12.
Final projects are due December 14.
Every assignment should be accompanied by a post on the class blog. Include a brief description, photos and videos, and tell us what difficulties you encountered, what worked and what didn’t, what you learned, etc.
This class focuses on exploring unconventional materials and techniques. When planning your midterm and final projects, avoid overly complex circuitry and programming. Focus instead on the expressive qualities of the materials and the development/improvement of unconventional techniques. Spend more time on the crafts and originality of your project than on the circuit design and programming facets.
Speak up in class! Let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything you’re not following.
Please keep your phone on silent/vibrate or off. If you have an emergency that may require you to answer your phone during class, please tell me ahead of time. Laptops can be used during work sessions. Otherwise, lids down. The quality of the class depends in large part on the quality of your attention and active participation.
Office hours are by appointment. Email me anytime: catarina(at)openmaterials(dot)org. Skype also has a screen share feature that’s great for remote help. My Skype name is catarina1807.
TECH CRAFTS PROJECTS
We will be working mainly with 3 classes of materials: paper, fabric and edibles. You can choose to execute the class assignments in any of these or on any other interesting medium (wood, plastics, glass, etc.).
A few examples of projects that utilize paper, fabric and edibles in creative ways:
Electronic Popables by Jie Qi
TeleScrapbook by Natalie Freed
Electronic Origami Crane by Jie Qi
Interactive Light Painting by Jie Qi
Paper Speakers by Hannah Perner-Wilson
Switches from Conductive Ink by various artists
How to Make Conductive Ink by University of Illinois
Interactive Wallpaper by MIT Hi-Low Tech Group
Piano Box by Catarina Mota
Heat-activated Wallpaper by Shi Yuan
Conductive Ink Sensors by Catarina Mota
Fairytale Fashion by Diana Eng
Handmade Sensors by How to Get What You Want
Wearable Toy Piano by How to Get What You Want
Solar T-shirt by How to Get What You Want
Turn Signal Biking Jacket by Leah Buechley
Some of the materials we’ll be covering.
Conductive paint infused with silver, copper or graphite particles.
Paint base infused with ferrite or magnetite particles
Electroluminescent (EL) Materials
Electroluminescent (EL) wire glows when an alternating current is passed through it and exists in a varied diameters (from 1.2mm to 5mm) and colors (produced by both the inverter frequency and the plastic sleeve). EL tape and panel are flat, larger versions of EL wire.
Thermochromic pigments change color when exposed to heat and turn back to their original color when the temperature drops again. These materials can be activated through body heat, a hairdryer, a space heater, nichrome, or just a hot summer day.
Shape memory alloy in wire form. Contracts 3 to 7% when heated by an electrical current.
Textiles with electrical properties made by blending or coating textiles with copper and/or nickel and/or silver fibers. Electrotextiles are available as fabrics, thread and yarn. Fabrics are produced in many textures such as nylon, lycra, clearmesh, softmesh, zelt, thermoadhesive (iron-on), etc.
Endlighten (light diffusing acrylic)
A type of acrylic that has microscopic particles suspended in the resin. Has a high light transmission. At first glance it appears no different than clear acrylic, but when illuminated from the edge it diffuses the light out the faces of the material.
Acetate sheet (with or without adhesive backing) coated with a layer of metal only a few atoms thick.
Due: September 14
- Login to the class blog using you netID and fill out your profile.
- Find an ubiquitous material/object and imagine an alternative use for it. Post a description of the material and use (w/ an optional photo) on the class blog.
- Bring to next class: card stock, LEDs, copper tape, scissors, battery holder, batteries, aligator clips