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Mentoring Through Textile Computing Workshops

Lilypad on a Teddy Bear


Collaborating with a local organization for middle school girls, we introduced a group of girls to the HCI iterative design process through a series of hands-on workshops using Lilypad Arduino and textile computing methods.

The workshops took place over ~4 sessions held at the Carnegie Mellon DevLab. We began by introducing the girls to some projects the workshop leaders completed using textile computing concepts. I made a tote bag with a Beyonce cut-out on it, whose eyes would light up with LEDs when the handles of the bag overlapped. Then we helped the girls brainstorm ideas. Each girl picked a project or two from the brainstormed ideas to paper prototype. The paper prototypes also enabled the girls to preplan their circuitry and where the electric conductive thread would go. The next step was to implement the ideas by sewing onto a belt, sweatshirt, or teddy bear (according to whichever idea the girl had selected). Workshop leaders then helped debug and program the Arduino to perform the behaviors the girls had designed. Most of the the focus was on implementing simple switches and LED outputs.


Kutznetsov, S., Trutoiu, L., Kute, C., Howley, I., Siewiorek, D., & Paulos, E. (2011). Breaking boundaries: Mentoring with wearable computing. CHI 2011, 2957-2966.

Showing Exemplars

Beyonce light up tote bag photo Circuitry diagram for Beyonce tote bag

Brainstorming and Paper Prototyping

The girls' brainstorming ideas
One of the girls working on her paper prototype
More paper prototyping by the girls.

Sewing Lilypad Arduino with Electric Conductive Thread

Sewing a Lilypad to a sweatshirt
Sewing to a t shirt

Sewing an Arduino to a teddy bear
Sewing the interior of the sweatshirt
Sewing conductive thread to a teddy bear

Programming the Arduino

Programming the teddy bear
Programming the Arduino

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