go4IT!-Advanced-Workshop "Holiday Camp Female Computer Science Designer"
This workshop takes places during the Easter holidays. The girls hereby use microcontrollers (Arduino Lilypad), lots of LEDs and conducting yarn to design clothes with technical refinement. The core of this workshop comprises the unique mixture of personal creative designing with fabrics, working with electronical equipment and programming.
At end of the workshop, the girls can keep the projects designed, built and programmed by themselves and hence get the opportunity to extend their programming knowledge at school, in a study group or at home.
On the first day of the holiday camp, an introductory workshop prepares the participants for the work with microcontrollers. Thereby it is explained what an electrical circuit is and how electrical currents flow. In groups of two, the girls first build a color thermometer out of an Arduino, a RGB-LED and a temperature sensor and then program the Arduino so that the RGB-LED changes its color depending on the measured temperature. After the girls have gained self-confidence in Arduino programming, they start their own “wearable project” being introduced to all the technical (and washable!) materials they may use to implement their own idea. The core component is the Arduino Lilypad – a very small and light-weighted microcontroller.
On the second day, the girls turn their creative project ideas into professional sketches in order to plan how to place the different components on the clothes and connect them without short circuits. It takes some time until the participants’ ideas have evolved to concrete concepts that are prepared to become reality. The following tasks are also challenging: The components have to be attached to the clothes and the Lilypad must be programed.
Once all components (Lilypad, LEDs, neo pixels, sensors, switches, ...) are sewed on the clothes they have to be connected with conductive yarn or filament. Without this connection, there is no closed circuit and the bright ideas cannot become true... As soon as the wearables are prepared and programmed and do what their creators have expected them to do, the girls present their designs and results in front of the parents and interested parties.