Electronics in Textiles


I recently ran a workshop for young people to make an all in one hat and scarf with electronic light up eyes that act as a fun safety feature. The workshop was very popular with students and there were some great outcomes. What surprised me most however was the huge amount of interest from adults who also wanted to join the workshop! The interest was so much that I will be putting on a workshop in the Autumn specifically targeted at adults. Teachers who attend the July 4th workshop I am running on technical, smart and electronic textiles will also get the scheme of work for this activity as part of the course. 

The use of electronics in textiles has been around for while now but things are just about getting to the stage where costs of components are more affordable and easier to get hold of. There are still many issues to be ironed out however  as much of what is available is designed for the traditional market of woods, plastics, metals etc. rather than the world of textiles. 

I have recently been talking to Kitronik who supply electronic components to education and industry and they have been very willing to listen to what textiles teachers need. They have even adapted some of their components with textiles teachers in mind and in particular they have developed a range of resources that can be sewn onto fabric easily without any soldering or fiddly twisting of wires. 

I have been so impressed with some of Kitronik’s components that I will be becoming a retail distributor for them via my website and through my courses. This will go live soon but in the meantime contact me if you want more details on any products I will be stocking. 

I am also keen to develop a range of schemes of work and products for the classroom along with resources that show students the uses of electronics beyond the fun ‘light up’ element. Keep an eye on my website for more details. 

The use of electronic, smart and technical materials is definitely the way forward for the contemporary textiles curriculum.  I am keen to support teachers to develop this area so feel free to contact me with any queries or ideas in this area. In the mean time take a look at this amazing video that shows the full potential of electronic programming, textiles and dance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHJkyMo9MtU

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