Smart Textiles & Physical Computing Workshop at the Univeristy of Ulster

CuteCircuit taught an intense hands-on introduction to Smart Textiles and Physical Computing at the Interface Research group at the University of Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland.[column_one_half] The workshop took place over the course of several days in the studios of Interface and focused specifically on integration techniques between the Smart Textiles and technology. The course demonstrated the latest design developments and soft circuits for making ‘smart clothing’ truly wearable.

Over the course of the workshop, participants had the opportunity to build and experiment at every step of the development process, from assembling smart materials to programming the microchip, to soldering and stitching and finally testing the finished prototype – “The Secret Message Glove”!

“What is the secret message glove?” you ask? I’m glad you asked!! It is a very useful item for spies, secret agents and private eyes and it is used for passing secret messages at the touch of a finger! In a smoky crowded bar in Casablanca, you urgently need to pass a secret message to your compatriot friend. There are too many ears, and too many eyes – but shaking hands looks normal![/column_one_half][column_one_half_last] So, you shake hands, the data is delivered from glove to glove, and you quietly disappear back into the mysterious Moroccan night, eluding the double agents.That was the Hollywood scenario, but in reality: The Secret Message Glove is a fun and simple-to-construct project we invented specifically for the workshop that combines Smart Textiles and Physical Computing in a wearable application.

In the workshop the participantsconstructed their gloves to their own design by using recycled fabrics, and integrating Smart Materials. The technology was assembled and integrated, and finally the microprocessor was programmed to pass the right ‘secret message’ of choice. By the end of the intense workshop many funny secret messages had been invented: from suggestions of what to have for dinner to useful tips on programming microprocessors!