Today we have a guest post from our friend Lynne Bruning, E-Textile master:
Last week I embarked on a hasty trip to Portland to see Rose City Vaudeville, visit a very pregnant girlfriend and size-up the Stump Town geek factor.
Within a couple of hours I found cheap airfare, called my friend and blindly emailed the Portland Dorkbot, home of the Teensy++. They agreed to host a free E-Textile meet-up at the BrainSilo hacker space on Friday night. With only a few days notice, very little planning and a rainy evening, I anticipated a few friends, a six pack of beer and a couple of curious inventors. If I had known it would be standing room only with about 30 artists, hackers and researchers I would have thought twice about speaking. Seriously, ‘this’ was my holiday? Fortunately - they brought PBR, a space heater, great projects and a sense of humor.
I brought samples of conductive fabric and threads, Lilypads and Aniomagic Schemers, shared sewing tricks and talked about e-textiles, adaptive technology and the best blogs to follow the wearable computing trends. Monty asked about the dangers of lithium batteries and we contemplated destroying one. Loki discussed the semantics of ‘eTextiles’, ‘wearable computers’, ‘smart clothing’ and ‘glamtronics’ yet none of us came to a conclusion for accurate terminology.
Janna from Third Brain Studio shared her physical therapy LED project that motivates a patient to complete their physical therapy through LEDs.
Amy Johnston arrived fashionably late, however she offered up a fresh pomegranate and a project I was super excited to learn more about. Hidden Agendas is a necklace composed of 45 RFID tags that are programmed to display an image, quote, or question that address the topic of tracking, surveillance and identity. The necklace is currently on display at the Science of Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh.
And a special shout out to members of Makers Local 256 from Huntsville, Alabama who took time out of their busy travel schedule to attend the meeting and invite me to their hackerspace for some southern hospitality. I think that means moonshine and a pig roast!
Portland, you impress me with your desire to foster a community of creative thinkers. Your food carts, fashion and brew pubs. And most of all your ability to embrace innovation, especially on short notice. I’ll be back for more, until then please keep the beer cold and the BrainSilo warm.