A Review of E-Textiles in Education and Society

A Review of E-Textiles in Education and Society

Kylie Peppler (Indiana University, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8310-5.ch011
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The recent emergence of digital creativity that extends beyond the screen and into the physical world, engendering new forms of creative production, has transformed educational and professional fields. From AT&T's bio-tracking clothing to Lady Gaga's smart-hydraulic “Living Dress,” e-textiles infuse fashion with electronics to produce unique and aesthetic effects using new conductive materials, including thread, yarn, paint, and fabrics woven from copper, silver, or other highly conductive fibers. This chapter outlines both the educational and societal implications of these new materials in the field of e-textile creation like consumer-ready e-textile toolkits, high-profile displays of imaginative e-textile creations and an increasing body of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) literature on e-textile design that have emerged in the past decade. It also looks at ways in which e-textiles are transforming new solutions to old and persistent problems of underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM fields and providing a vehicle in which to rethink teaching and learning in these disciplines.
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Background: E-Textiles In Practice

E-textile projects can range from computationally enhanced articles of clothing to home furnishings to architecture, underscoring through tacit or explicit means how computing can be soft, colorful, approachable, and beautiful. E-textile artifacts can range from the whimsical (for example, dresses that expand in circumference when personal space is encroached upon, traditional embroideries that glow and sing) to the mission-critical (for example, smart military uniforms, sportswear that monitors health indicators, portable medical devices). Examples below help to situate e-textiles for those unfamiliar with this emerging domain.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Arduino: A microcontroller board with pins that connect to electronics or computers, using text-based coding environments to sense and control something in the physical world. In the chapter we discuss LilyPad Arduinos, simple boards that can be sewn into fabric and control lights, sounds, and movements of the textiles.

E-Textiles: Also known as electric textiles or smart textiles . Everyday textiles and clothes that have electric components embedded in them;

STEM: The curricular disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math, fields where women and minorities are often underrepresented.

Coding: Also known as computer programming . Creating a language that describes the instructions or program used in software; in this chapter, coding ranges from complex codes performed by technicians to the e-textiles codes related to Modkit or LilyPad Arduinos.

Maker Movement: The name given to the increasing number of people employing DIY techniques and processes to develop unique technology products. Educators use this to engage the natural inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing. See also DIY.

DIY: Also known as do-it-yourself. The method of building, modifying, or repairing something without the aid of experts or professionals. DIY has been closely aligned with the Maker Movement.

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