I suppose I’m a tactile tinkerer. When I have time for it, I tinker a bit with wearable computing — also called “soft circuits,” “embodied interaction,” or — arguably — augmented reality. This is the (often gendered) art or craft of sewing electronic circuitry, sensors, and microprocessors like the Lilypad Arduino into clothing, jewelry, toys, and other household goods so that they become (or make you become) aware of their/your environment in new ways.
Bill Turkel and I taught a workshop on hacking wearables and e-textiles at THATCamp Great Lakes, we had fun with this stuff at the #pastplay symposium, and I gave away freebies at the last THATCamp Prime.
Conceptually, I can’t get past toys and art pieces — like blinky, light-up merit badges, ambient orbs that respond to the state of my inbox, a tipsyflower brooch made of shape-memory wire & breathalyzer parts, jewelry that whines when you walk north…
I’d like to design a project that I felt was meaningful in terms of digital humanities theory or research — something useful within, or reflective about, the field. And I’m just stuck. Any ideas?
One thing I love about the LilyPad Arduino community is Leah Buechley’s emphasis on soft circuits as a path to teaching young girls to hack things and code. I guess what I’m looking for (and maybe will have to write) is a similar approach to wearable computing and embodied interaction for serious (eh, semi-serious) DH.
I’ll bring my bag of silvery, conductive thread and blinky self-meriting merit badges (a fun first project) to THATCampVA for anybody who’s interested — but what I’m really bringing is this question:
Can we collectively imagine and engineer a meaningful set of projects, or an R&D agenda, for embodied interaction in the digital humanities?