Electric Sheep

Dates: July 14th-25th

Cost: $1,200

Electric Sheep is a module that pushes the limits of traditional fiber design and art. In this course, we will build electronics upon a foundation of craft: imagine clothes that can understand and regulate your temperature, or pants that charge your phone as you walk. With everything in our society becoming ‘smart’: phones, TVs, microwaves, cars, etc. Why should our fibers and fabrics be any different?

This class will seek out many different fibers and their uses today. Look around you -- a lot of what you see is made from fiber. Humans use fibers in clothing, textiles for the home and workplace, medical care, and industry, for starters. We will research the differences between natural fibers such as cotton, wool, and bamboo, and synthetic fibers to gain a deeper understanding of how fibers help us live comfortable lives. We will learn the basic arts of knitting, sewing, crocheting, weaving, felting and dyeing in the classroom and during day trips to local businesses.

We will also learn the basics of electronics: circuits, switches, sensors and lights, before diving deeper into simple microcontroller programming using the sewable Lilypad Arduino.

Then we will wire it all together with conductive thread, as students design and integrate basic circuits into their projects to create light-up hats and spinning crochet creatures. We will also do a little coding while we play with the Lilypad Arduino, which will allow us to make 'smart', soft projects like light-up quilts, temperature sensing shirts, pong, turn signal jackets, or anything you care to imagine!

Katie Dektar

Katie is an Operations Support Engineer at Google. She attended Stanford University and majored in Biomedical Computation, studying how ants invented the internet. She enjoys photography, biology, designing websites and Android apps, sewing, crocheting, and programming. As an engineer, she is interested in exploring the intersection of crafts and engineering, and loves the new dimension that electronics can bring to traditional media. Since she loves coding and sewing, she thinks of the sewable, programmable microcontrollers used in this class as the ultimate coolest thing ever. Katie is excited to be involved in exciting hands-on science and engineering programs like ASRA!

Cheryl Sanders

Cheryl is a graduate student at UAF in Structural Geology. When she's not in school, she teaches science and math for the Fairbanks School District or helps Fort Knox find gold. In her free time, she is usually tangled up in some fiber creation. This includes yarn projects in crocheting, knitting, weaving and felting but often also includes sewn clothing and quilts. Most of her inspiration comes from the outdoors or the activities that she enjoys such as hiking, ballet, gardening, yoga and raising sheep and chickens. Cheryl says, "I want to branch out and try something new! A mix between fiber, arts, electronics, wearable technology and design allows integration with science and art."

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