E-clothing expert visits AUT

15 Jun, 2009
Electronic cycling jacket by AUT fashion lecturer Lyle Reilly
Electronic cycling jacket by AUT fashion lecturer Lyle Reilly

Dr Buechley, a professor from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has developed a method for creating cloth printed circuit boards (fabric PCBs) which can then be made into interactive garments with inbuilt sensors for touch, light and sound.

On 4 and 10 June, Dr Buechley will run workshops at AUT University on how to design, build and programme electronic clothing using LilyPad Arduino software.  LilyPad consists of a programmable computer chip on a small flower shaped disk that can be sewn into fabric via conductive thread and connected to LEDs, sensors, speakers and other electronic accessories.

Dr Buechley says the LilyPad provides many opportunities for fun but could also have potentially serious applications.  “I am interested in whether we could use this software to help the sick or elderly and am exploring ideas like how to knit clothes that monitor a person’s heart rate, breathing and joint movement.”

AUT’s Colab creative technologies laboratory  has brought Dr Buechley to New Zealand to link with researchers, conduct the workshops and to present a keynote paper at its “Creating Technologies” conference” on Friday 5 June.  She will speak about the the idea of placing technology in the hands of everyday people, the central theme of the conference.

“This conference is all about giving people the tools and knowledge so they can use technology to create the things they imagine,” says organiser Dawn Hutchesson.  “We are asking how we can build a bridge between the low-tech crafts and hobbies so many of us engage in, and the high-tech commercial processes by which many products are made.  In short, we want to see what is possible when we put exciting technology into the hands of ordinary people.”

Other speakers at the conference include Derek Elley who will talk about the revolutionary design website Ponoko and AUT’s Associate Professor Charles Walker who will discuss the institutionalisation of creativity.

Dawn Hutchesson, CoLab Manager, AUT, ph 09 9219566.

Andrea Malcolm 021924314/Aimee Wilkins 0212430255
Communications Mangers, AUT

Lilypad Arduino work by Dr Buechley and others

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