Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Featured in the UT Dallas LINK

On the last day of camp, we had a special visitor from the University of Texas at Dallas: Farah Ellenbogen. We sat down with her and spoke about the camp, or mission and our efforts. In turn, she wrote a great article about us for the UTD LINK. It talks a bit about our history and how we went about constructing the camp. Check out the article here:

Fashioning a Brighter Future

Thanks again to UT Dallas for their continuous support. Thanks Farah!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Electronic Fashion Camp - Day Three

Today is the last day of our first ever Electronic Fashion Camp. Volunteers and participants are working together to put finishing touches on their amazing projects. Our focus today is around a core component of the Arduino community: open source. Meagan Dahl is speaking about open source communities and then we're learning about the US Patent System from one of our favorite engineers, Julie Strickland. She goes over flex circuits, interconnect and connectors in her talk detailing her journey of taking an idea from "being labeled 'crazy' to 'patent pending.'"
Meagan Dahl (left) describes the benefits of an open source community. Julie Strickland (right) emphasizes the importance of "getting a second opinion." 
The girls are doing a great job both designing and building their very own LilyPad Arduino projects. Check out all the great projects below.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Electronic Fashion Camp - Day Two

This morning, Mark is introducing us to electrical circuits and showing us how to create electronic schematics.  Julie's going to help the group understand mechanical diagrams by drawing examples on the wall. Both electrical and mechanical diagrams are helpful when planning any kind of project involving electronics. After hearing from both sides, each girl is drawing her very own electrical schematic and mechanical layout as they prepare to build their first LilyPad Arduino project.

The girls are getting a lot better and understanding concepts around coding in the Arduino IDE. Volunteers, Toni and Amy, are going to walk through the basic setup() and loop() functions necessary to compile the program then go into more advanced concepts like conditional statements and instantiation.

Thank you to the University of Texas at Dallas, Emerging Media & Communications Program for the use of their computers for the duration of the camp.

Then comes the interactive part of the day where the girls are able to start programming and lead bending. Girls will seperate into small groups to prepare their resistors and LED's by delicately curling each lead using pliers. By coding in the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE), coders are able to tell the LilyPad Arduino exactly what to do: blink, fade, or create a Persistence of Vision (POV) message. They are then able to alter the message text by changing the value of the text array. Each purse and bracelet will be truly unique: some are large, some are small; some are curved, some are rectangles.

The girls are also going to begin sewing their purses today. It's exciting to see the projects come to life!

And what do our campers think about all this? Let's just say they are hugely enthusiastic. Julie offered up some quick feedback she collected from the ladies attending.

Camper #1: "Awesome!  I loved it."
Camper #2: "Good.  I like camp.  My one problem was that I had to recode it twice."
Camper #3: "It was awesome!  Except it was hard!"
Camper #4: "It was confusing, but we figured it out.  It was great, that we got to put into practice what we learned yesterday." And the whole table answered, "Yes" in unison!

A huge thanks to the Day Two volunteers: Dia Campbell, Toni Klopfenstein, Amanda Clark, Vanessa Cannal, Will Bengston, Wes Crouch, Mark Hoffman, Letia Blanco, Julie Strickland, Emily Strickland, Amy Pickup, Mary Skinner, Patti McLetchie, Florence Lubinus, Mel Hoshut, and Rocky Gentry

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Electronic Fashion Camp - Day One

What do these things have in common: fashion design, microcontrollers, LED's, and fun? They are all part of the first day of this year's Electronic Fashion Camp for Girls! Today the girls are taking a crash course in all things LilyPad Arduino. We're talking programming, electronics, circuit boards, rapid prototyping, sewing, materials, and fashion.

To kick off the camp, we're going to get to know each other by working in teams to complete the Fashion Designer Challenge. Their mission: pick one model and work together to create one fashion design using only tissue paper, crepe paper, decorative duct tape, twist ties, and ribbon.  The four teams will develop completely different designer creations: two dresses, one shirt, and one super hero outfit. They are all fabulous!

We'll then walk through the basics of the LilyPad Arduino, a sewable microcontroller that can be connected to fabric using conductive thread.

Next, Toni is teaching us how circuits work and basic coding skills. (P=I*V kind of stuff) While coding for the first time can be intimidating, Toni is doing an amazing job of breaking it down into simple, easy-to-understand instructions. We're teaching the girls to code for both analog (1024 settings) and digital (either on or off) settings.

When talking about anything fashion related, it's always good to have an understanding of how fashion works. Kim is helping the girls by speaking about fashion as communication. She's a professor in Emerging Media & Communications program at The University of Texas at Dallas and runs an independent study called Fashioning Circuits. In a totally interactive session, we're discussing what fashion and emerging media means. What do your clothes say about you?

Big thanks to today's volunteers: Kim Knight, Patti McLetchie, Lauren Von Eper, Emily Strickland, Julie Strickland, Amy Pickup, Florence Lubinus, Dia Campbell, Toni Klopfenstein, and Amanda Clark