Making wearables

wearables in progress

What are wearables

Wearables are something you can wear with electronics in them to make them ‘better’. For instance a smartwatch or shoes with lights in them. There are millions of options. Every kind of electronics is an option: a hat with a sound system in it so that you don’t need a headphones. A smartwatch that read your messages to you. A vest that warms you faster than a regular one. A shirt with lights in them so you’re more visible.

Why do I write about this?

Ik write about wearables because the last couple of weeks I’ve had the privilege to give some workshops where I teach kids to make a wearable. On my social media you can see some pictures of that.

I teach the kids about circuits and how to make an LED light burn. Then I let them make a ‘practice wearable’. At this stage we all make the same thing: a bracelet with a light in it. This gives them the opportunity to practice the knowledge in a slightly different way. Here we can adjust any small mistakes to make the bracelets all work perfectly. Here I can make the kids learn to do everything to make all the circuits work when they don’t.

If everything is done right, then at the end of a workshop everybody has a working bracelet they can make beautiful.

If I really have the time to play:

If I really get time then I love to take it a lot further than just a bracelet. Then I would love to use the creativity of the kids I work with. They think of the most wonderful things, sometimes hard to work out but we always find a way!

I was given this time in Leiden at a school. A school for kids who need a little extra help. I can play around with a class of seven great kids and their teacher. Together we’re on an adventure to discover everything about wearables.

As described above, the kids first made a circuit on paper to get the idea. Then they all made a bracelet, a practice wearable. As soon as this one worked, they moved on to their own design.
If it was going to be big, they had to work together. If it was small enough, they could make their own.

Two ladies are making a belt full of lights. One lady is making a diadem with four lights on top. Two guys are making some sort of a speedo but to wear over your pants instead of underneath. The last two men are making a bright orange balaclava.

How does that go?

All the kids are doing great. They all are building the circuits in their own design. The kids are thinking about where the lights should go, how many and where the copper tape should be placed. And last but not least: where do they want the battery to light it all up.

The underwear guys wanted one light and they already have it working properly. The hat guys also want one light, on the top of their hat. But they first need to sow it all together. The belt ladies are well on their way on the circuit and so is Lady Diadem.

Why is this so much fun?

I find it beautiful to see the kids grow. I can see them understanding how it all works and working more and more on their own. I can see the personalities of the kids in how they work. This is why I became a teacher!

Apart from that, I’m learning a lot about science. I don’t know too much yet and I want to know more to become a better teacher. I think it’s fantastic to figure out how I can use electronics in things I build and draw. Who knows, maybe I can use sound in the future!

Would you like to learn about circuits?

If you would like to learn about building circuits with a group, perhaps a class, contact Kleinkunstig.
If you would love to know more about this, just like me, then leave me a message. This link brings you to the contact form.

wearables in progress
Author

Marieke Noordhuis

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