Sunday, 22 April 2012

Soft Circuits

In March I attended a one day 'Short Circuit' course at the V&A. I was really looking forward to learning how to incorporate a soft circuit into a cushion and it took me back (slowly!) to my science lessons at school and at the beginning of the day I wished that I had done a bit of pre-course revision.  Once it started to make sense it was fun and it was very satisfying when each circuit was completed and small LED light lit up.

Below is a photo of the circuits that I made on the course and by no means a beautiful piece but it did incorporate a number of techniques for creating a circuit and serves as a good reminder of the course.

The circuit is powered by a small battery and is made by linking the LEDs to the battery with  conductive thread.  The piece included a number of circuits:
  • a simple circuit where the LED lights up when the battery is on
  • a circuit which is closed/completed when a metal bead at one end of the circuit touches another metal bead.
  • a circuit which is closed when conductive fabric is stitched to two sections of velcro and the velcro is closed 
  • A circuit closed when the pressure pad is pressed
  • A circuit including a resister which switches the LED on when it is light and off when it's in darkness. I'm struggling to think of an appication for this type of light...but maybe you can?

The course inspired me to buy the book Fashioning Technology . Although I have enjoyed both the book and the course I am struggling to see how I would use it. It's clever, it's interesting but I haven't yet seen any particular application that has inspired me enough to want to make it. But now I have had my eyes opened to some of the possibilities that inspration may be around the corner.

mztec is a website which is aimed at women and the use of technology in the arts. I'll be keeping my eye on this for the elusive must-have application. 


  1. Lovely to see you blogging Marian and fun to read your back posts. Looking forward to reading more. This sounds like a fascinating course, although like you, I can't think of any immediate applications.

  2. Well I can! I love fairy lights, and embroidered arty cushions, so not only could I incorporate the two, it would also turn itself off when I go to bed and turn all the lights off.
    Or you could design meringue dresses with fairy lights for Big Fat Gypsy weddings.


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