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A New E-Textiles Tutorial


Dia has been hard at work since she started as the SparkFun TechStyles Specialist creating new and innovative projects in the e-textiles realm. A few weeks ago, we talked about her experience with conductive paint. Today, we wanted to highlight a new tutorial about making decorative conductive fabric buttons!

Dia's latest tutorial will guide you through the process of making a button out of conductive fabric. In this tutorial, Dia uses the button to control a LilyPad LED, but you could theoretically use it to control anything - a servo motor, a robotic arm, or anything else your mind can dream up. Check out the tutorial! Great work, Dia!


Comments 15 comments

  • “Even though I don’t have much interest in the e-textiles"
    I didn’t either, but it dawned on me that my thirteen year old daughter might. I gave her a peek at the e-textiles stuff…
    I’ve spent the last two days showing her how to nest for loops and use three PMW outputs to control the color of an RGB LED on my Uno.
    She’s really looking at the Lillypad protosnap and the bracelet kits.
    (I think there’s an order in my future)

  • I might wonder the value of dinner gowns with blinking lights, and not really find a lot of use for one, particulary being a male, but i can see that having embedded lights in marine outerwear could be invaluable. like autoinflating lifevests with embedded bright lights and beacons. it would be nice to have a flashlight grade LED in a sleave cuff. more practical than trendy. but that sells.

  • E-Textiles may not be in your wheelhouse, but it is hitting the mainstream with some real force. Check out this video from America’s Got Talent, a nationally (USA) popular dance-competition show. One of the dance teams competing is uses E-Textiles (namely EL wire) as the main draw for their performances.
    See video here: http://youtu.be/XRwX9oCaE9Q

    • Not to mention, I don’t think most people who are into electronics would mind a slightly higher percentage of women involved.
      Note that I’m not saying that e-textiles are for women only, just that it might attract a number of women who wouldn’t normally care at all about electronics.

  • Okay. Now i am 100% positive that Nate has got an eye for Leah Buechley. Reading the comments above i strongly agree: what’s up with the e-textiles?

    • Leah Buechley is certainly a friend of SparkFun’s. But there is no ulterior motive for our interest, except that we are genuinely intrigued by e-textiles. Like it or not, the e-textile world is a growing sect of electronics enthusiasts. In fact, we recently created a position (Dia is our new TechStyles Specialist and wrote the above mentioned tutorial) just to explore the world of e-textiles.
      As you can see from Tmbomber’s post above, it is a great entry way for many people into electronics. There are also people doing amazing stuff with it out there, but everyone has to start somewhere.

  • Where did the challenging projects go? I am always following the news articles here, it’s a great tutorial I confess, but the e textiles are getting al little boring. How about a android controlled RC sailboat? Too bad there are no Sparkfun products inside accept the WIFI antenna and cable. Not to criticize to much i just hope to see challenging project, some projects who can tickle the starters and show the awesome things u can do with the technology instead of the products.

    • We like to offer a balance of “challenging” projects and “beginner” projects. From our interactions with our customers, we have an equal number of advanced electronics users and beginners, so we want to have something for everyone. If you look through the past news posts below, I’m sure you’ll find something to spark your inner inventor.
      I think the post tomorrow will be more your speed as well (hint, hint) - stay tuned!

      • Perhaps you should have separate columns for beginners and non-beginners. I would also suggest a separate area for the e-textiles.
        May I respectfully suggest, the “Beginner’s Corner”, “The Workbench”, and “Artsy Partsy” as new columns ?
        Just a thought.

        • I like the mix. Even though I don’t have much interest in the e-textiles. I am interested in the challenging projects, but not all challenging projects are interesting to me. Some of the easy projects teach me something new.
          As for WiFi, see http://www.sparkfun.com/search/results?term=wifi&what=products

          • The RC sailboat was an example derived from a project of a study group of mine. I used the sparkfun WIFI module on a board designed by me:
            http://www.wetterfretter.nl/images/IMG00105-20110530-1138.jpg
            http://www.wetterfretter.nl/images/IMG00106-20110530-1138.jpg
            The android app(designed by the IT guys):
            http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2741941/DSC04997.JPG
            The board contains a ATMEGA2560,ADXL345,IDG500,FT232,space for a zigbit module and most of the importent stuff broken out; I2C, SPI, UART. A video of the boat:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3DUzXZlGlg

        • If you think about what we do here on the blog, for the most part, aside from SparkFun specific news and Friday New Products posts, we really just aggregate articles/sites/projects from different parts of the web according to how relevant we feel it is to the community that we serve.
          In a way, we start with the “Beginner’s Corner”, “The Workbench”, and “Artsy Partsy” and link out to them from our blog. Besides, who’s to say a certain project doesn’t fit Artsy Partsy and The Workbench? How do we choose who to expose to that project? Well… we don’t, we expose everyone to whatever we think is inspiring :) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hit with a genius concept out of left-field by our blog, many times they’re related to things that I would never have thought to go research on my own.
          Just my $0.02, although I do like the creative names you came up with for the columns, haha.

        • Are you talking specifically about the tutorials?


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