Thermochromic Textile

First step is to make something integrating a yarn dyed with thermachromic pigment.  I decided an ear warmer would be a good platform as the heat wire element might enhance the ear warming function as it heats up to change the yarn color.

I like the way the yarn blends in.  Makes for a more dramatic reveal! Now to test it.


Thanks to Laura and Unstable Design Lab for providing the dyed yarn and Wayne for the assist with testing the needed wattage.  I’m still unsure of how to actually functionally power this project, but I think it is an interesting idea.


First Prototype

The first prototype we made in class by running wires through a glove and soldering two LEDs on top of the fingers. Making sure that positive wire of both LEDs ran to the tip of each finger, and the negative wires both ran to the thumb. Then when you pinch a coin cell battery it completes the circuit for the finger and thus lights up the light associated with that finger.

Unfortunately, solder isn’t flexible, and after a few times playing with it, the solder joint  snapped off one of the LEDs.



Second Prototype

I liked this idea and wanted some more experience working with conductive thread that I had only used once before, so decided to make a second version of this glove this time with lights on three of the fingers.


I made sure to stitch a fairly wide pad on each finger to ensure good contact points.

pretty happy with it! Red, White, and Blue.


Had to hook it up to an alternate power source because I ran my battery out of juice.

If I make a third prototype, I would embed a power source in the glove so that you could light it up just by touching each finger to the thumb.


Third Prototype

In the final iteration for this idea I decided I wanted the light on the glove to serve a purpose other than just being fun.

Problem: Many apartments do not have a good outside light source near the front door, so during the darker winter months, and for those who work late, it is difficult to find the keyhole in the dark, especially if one is wearing gloves to keep warm.

Idea: Create a glove with an LED that lights up the key hole when the user is holding a key in front of it.

Design Process: I started by taking a pair of gloves I wear all the time with touch pads already embedded in the thumb and forefinger and then used conductive thread to sew a circuit that is completed when the pads are pressed together. This works with or without a key.



While I was sewing the circuit into the glove, I was showing a friend what I was doing, and he commented that he normally holds his keys between his thumb and the middle of his forefinger rather than the tip. So, I made and extra contact pad there by adding some extra stitches with the conductive thread.


This worked quite well!

The light output is quite good and more than sufficient for the intended purpose.

Sew Something…

Step one:

Find two fabrics that you like and cut out all the pieces.

Here are some instructions on that:

-measure your waist and divide that number by 6.28
-fold the fabric in quarters and use the number to draw the radius from the double folded corner.
-decide how long you want your skirt and measure it out from the first radius making sure to leave a seam allowance.
After cutting the circles and waistbands, I sewed the bottom hem of the two large circles together with the right sides facing, and then turned it inside out and sewed the hem.  this allows the hem to be neat and beautiful on both sides.


Here is the finished hem



Because this  skirt uses two woven fabrics that don’t have much stretch, I put a zipper in, so next step is cut the skirt where i wanted the zipper to go.


Next comes the waist band.  using the same method with the main skirt, sew bands together with right sides facing along one of the long edges then flip and resew.  this is the top edge of the waist band
There are several methods for attaching a waistband.  I pinned the grey side first, right sides together and sewed them then, turned the skirt over and turned the edge under and pinned the print side


Waistband attached!


Now for the zipper!

this is a somewhat difficult part
I used a reversible double sided zipper.  The one I liked was actually for a sleeping bag, so I had to cut it way down!
Fold fabric under and pin the zipper in place
Be careful of the pins and turn the skirt inside out and repeat

Spice Shelf

After moving in with my partner, we had a sub-optimal situation in the cupboard where we were keeping all of our spices.  Jars vary in height and size, and the small ones would get lost as they inevitably migrated to the back.  So, I decided to build a small shelf to help mitigate the problem.


Step One:  cardboard prototype

It’s often beneficial to do a first mock up of an idea in cardboard to test size and functionality.  I ended up making this shelf 6″ x 6″ x 12″ to fit in the cupboard we have.


Step Two: digital design file

I use Adobe Illustrator for most of my graphic design work, so recreated the layout to prep for laser cutting the pieces for the final shelf.



Step Three: laser cutting!

Thanks to the BTU Lab, and the wonderful laser masters, the design cut out nicely!


Step Four: assembly

Cheep plywood has a large degree of variability in thickness and texture, which means that the extremely exact laser doesn’t always cut all the way through, but nothing that a little sandpaper and an x-acto knife can’t handle!

After a quick sanding of all the edges, the pieces fit together so snugly that I didn’t need any wood glue.  This is one advantage of using wood, it has a bit of give to it.


Step Five: Install

Fit perfectly and allows the small spices to remain visible.  An added bonus of this design is that the open layout allows for storage underneath the shelf for less commonly used things.


Project Review

Overall, very happy with this project and getting good use out of it.

Supplies used:

  • scrap cardboard box
  • measuring and drawing tools
  • xacto knife
  • Adobe Illustrator (here is my PDF file if you want it)
  • Universal Laser Systems laser cutter
  • 1/4″ plywood
  • sand paper

Potential Improvements

I’m pretty happy with it as is, but maybe a coat of varnish or stain or paint could improve the final appearance.  I would like to make a three-shelf version in the future.

Link to Indestructible 

hoLEDay tree

Positioning:  Interactive wall art provides users with the option to continually personalize their art through changing color modes and other elements with LED lights

Mission:  Change the way people think about their walls by providing the opportunity to continually customize a piece of art to fit moods and special occasions.

Vision:  Be beautiful and delightful

Target Audience:  All ages.  People who enjoy the mixed medium of hard and soft, art and technology

Printed a copy of a tree design I created in Illustrator to use as a pattern to bend the wire


-Use on of my tree sketches to create a holiday tree that is safe for kids to decorate with lights

-Enhance the experience by eliminating the frustration and danger of traditional light strings

-Add joy to a room with the finished product




After getting the first few wires shaped I ran testing the first part of the circuit with an external power source and an RGB cycling LED.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Had to learn how to do some basic soldering for this project to make the wire connections to complete the circuit.


Assembly processes.  In order to have a minimalist design, I ran wires in front and behind with a gap in the circuit that will be bridged by each LED.  Gluing small high power magnets to the back make a nice attachment for the lights.



Creative Technology Seminar Final Project

Initial proposed project description:

My idea is to create a game that allows people to play a game similar to “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock” in real life.
The Rules:
  • Scissors cuts Paper
  • Paper covers Rock
  • Rock crushes Lizard
  • Lizard poisons Spock
  • Spock smashes Scissors
  • Scissors decapitates Lizard
  • Lizard eats Paper
  • Paper disproves Spock
  • Spock vaporizes Rock
  • (and as it always has) Rock crushes Scissors
My initial idea was to make wrist bands that have a couple colored lights and the symbol associated with the “character.”  The point of the game would be to get within a certain proximity of the characters you can “kill” whilst avoiding the characters that can “kill” you and not letting them get close to you.  The game winner would be the first player to acquire 3 wins before taking three hits.
An interesting additional feature would allow players to view a map of play after the game ends and see the path of all the players during game play.
would see this game being fun in large crowed event environments like festivals and conventions.


Update #1

Following the recommendation to use microbit and the embedded radio function as the platform for this project, I learned how to get them working and recognizing each other as well as adding and using the Neopixel library to light up the LED strip.

Additionally, I used Illustrator and Sketchup to create a 3D model and print an initial prototype mock up of one possible housing for the game modules.


Update #2

after much struggle, finally figured out how to get the micro:bits to hold and keep track of score for the game.


I decided that adding extra LEDs might be too much with the full screen, so going to use the embedded screen to communicate score and game play.

Also found a case on that I’m going to use instead of designing new ones from scratch.


Final code



Name: Jenna

Age/Gender: 57 Female

Family:  Daughter and 2 cats

Occupation: Office manager

Hobbies/Collections:  vinyl records and classic books.

Technology:  iPhone, desktop computer, just got a kindle e-reader because she is running out of bookshelf space


Jenna loves working as an office manager, but has noticed as she is getting older that she gets sick a lot and has to take time off work when germs are going around, and this has a negative impact on work flow.  She also has a sensitivity to may cleaning chemicals used in the space, so more bleach isn’t a good solution for her.

Lets look at some data about germs in the office place…

An ATP of 300 or higher is considered officially dirty and at high risk for spreading illness. The dirtiest office surfaces found to have ATP counts of 300 or higher were as follows:

  • 75% of break room sink faucet handles
  • 48% of microwave door handles
  • 27% of  keyboards
  • 26% of refrigerator door handles
  • 23% of water fountain buttons
  • 21% of vending machine buttons

Surfaces with readings over 100 that could use disinfecting included:

  • 91% of break room sink faucet handles
  • 80% of microwave door handles
  • 69% of keyboards
  • 69% of refrigerator door handles
  • 53% of water fountain buttons
  • 51% of all computer mice
  • 51% of all desk phones
  • 48% of all coffee pots and dispensers
  • 43% of vending machine buttons


I’m going to focus on handles that aren’t on a sink since motion detecting faucets are a great solution already widely in use, or on keyboards, since these are less frequently a shared item.


Antimicrobial covers for handles and knobs in public places at work that not only helps keep germs from spreading, but also alerts users to the danger of germs on handles, especially in shared kitchen areas.


  • yarn
  • 2 large metal snaps
  • non-conductive thread to sew element together
  • conductive thread to create circuits between elements
  • LilyMini with SAMD11 brain
  • 3v coin battery
  • LilyPad Light Sensor
  • LilyPad Button
  • 4 LilyPad LEDs


  1. LilyPad components are fun to work with, but you have to take extra care to remember where you sewed with the conductive thread when you are trying to hide it in the design.  I had to resew part of the circuitry because half of the lights were not working correctly.  Unlike wires with traditional arduino boards, thread is harder to debug because I couldn’t see where it was and had to try to remember where I had sewed.
  2. As I was creating the prototype, I realized that antimicrobial yarn often incorporates silver as the microbe discouraging element, and that might interfere with the sewn in electrical components in this project.  I would need to do some testing to see if this would be problematic.  For the prototype, I used a silver colored yarn that I had on hand, but it does not contain any conductive metallic material, so I didn’t have issues.


Programming that would trigger a red light after a certain number of people touched it to let someone know it needs to be washed.