Aubrey Gerhardt May 26, 2017

Wearable Technologies Series: Teen Tech Week
Integrating RFID, Blu Tooth, Apps to create functional, fashionable wearable technology
Meeting One – Create Winter Hat Donations & Brainstorming Original Design

Meeting Two– Prototype circuits for Wearable Design, diagram circuit, build app

Meeting Three - Create design, sewing, piecing, connecting, syncing to apps

Meeting Four – Fashion show at library’s NJ Makers Day Event

The Otto Bruyns Public Library will be using Teen Tech Week to focus on Wearable Technologies.  The fusion of fashion and function offers students an intriguing and innovative approach to this year’s theme.  The programming that we are proposing would engage students to create one very useful, community oriented project as well as one inspired by their own interests and incentives.

Head’s Up Winter Hat: At the first program on Monday, March 6, 3pm students will make a winter hat with a low temperature warning light that could be distributed at homeless shelters.  This hat would allow the homeless population that might not be aware of the dropping temperatures an indicator that they should seek shelter from the winter conditions in conjunction with Code Blue alerts. (A Code Blue alert is declared whenever temperatures drop below the freezing point and weather conditions pose a danger to the homeless population. The Code Blue Alert allows authorities to take homeless people to local shelters or other agencies, known as Warming Centers. These shelters make additional beds and space available until conditions improve and the alert is called off.)

Individual Designs: After completing this initial project, students will be guided through the process of brainstorming, prototyping, designing, redesigning, diagraming and then constructing their own wearable technology in the next two sessions.  These designs could include sound, temperature or motion reactivity elements.  We'll be leaving the exact product open-ended to encourage participants to create what they want.  For example a student could make a hoodie that lights up based on a motion reactivity – a great show for the runway, for a dance party, for safe signaling on a bicycle.

The library has a sewing machine available for the textile labor involved in these projects.  A local quilter and seamstress has offered to volunteer her expertise to assist with the construction elements of proposed projects.  As a Google Making & Science location and grant recipient, the library has 12 Motorola Phones that can be used to create & test Apps to use to interact with students’ wearable technology.  

The end creations could be showcased in a Fashion Show.

The skill sets learned during this Wearable Technology series are not only life-ready skills but they will infuse the students with confidence.  Students will be able to wear their own, original designs.  Students will learn the benefits of quality, customizable wearables that do not rely on overpriced brand shopping.  We will fuse fashion, function and pride into their projects.

Type: Active
Age: Middle school
Optimal size: 6-10
Estimated cost: $100+
Planning time: 5+ hours
Frequency: Monthly

Learning outcomes

-Sewing Skills
-Introduction to textiles and textile history
-Technology & Textiles
-Basic coding using Arduino LillyPads

Imagination, design, creating new fashion concepts that are both functional and fashionable!


This will depend on the individual projects your students come up with.  The following is a light-up choker that the teens designed in our program.


Students can create a video to tell you what they learned and what they may be inspired to pursue after contemplating their original and unique design options (as opposed to the Brand Name fashions that they can not afford).

Other resources

Projected materials needed for projects:
This is what we started with, we also purchased fairy lights to sew into skirts, we purchased speakers, coats at the thrift store, an umbrella we refurbished with a plastic material & EL Wire, we also purchased fiber-optics to make a fiber optic jacket.  I would also recommend Fashion & Technology books to teach the history of textiles as well as the history of fashion.  Often when we were sewing, someone was reading out loud to the group.  Our group was constantly mashing up many different elements.  We never finished, we're still working on projects - it's kind of eternal and ongoing...hopefully we'll get Girls Who Code up and running through an intern at our local university and we'll evolve into this project!

ProtoSnap - LilyPad Development BoardDEV-11262  59.95 (1)  $59.95

LilyPad Arduino USB - ATmega32U4 Board DEV-12049  24.95 (5) $124.75

Lithium Ion Battery - 850mAh PRT-00341    9.95 (5)  $49.75

Conductive threads -30ft 2.95  (5) $14.75

SparkFun ESP32 Thing 19.95 (5) $99.75

LilyPad LEDs 3.95  (25) $98.75

EL Wire 9.95 (15) $149.25

LilyPad Temperature Sensor 4.95 (5) $24.75

Arduino Nano $7.95 (5) $39.75

Fabric & sewing supplies including fleece
AdaFruit products were great (NeoPixel Ring!)

EL Inverter - 12v 9.95 (5) $49.75

EL Sequencer 34.95 (3) $104.85

Smart Textiles for Designers: Inventing the Future of Fabrics

Fashion and Technology: A Guide to Materials and Applications

Dress, Fashion and Technology: From Prehistory to the Present (Dress, Body, Culture)

JewelBots: programmable bracelets

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