I was invited to give a workshop with my knitted sensors
on August 2nd at SIGGRAPH
2017, a huge computer graphics conference in Los Angeles. It went great-- everyone's knitted sensors were up and running in just over an hour!
Hands-on workshops require a lot of planning. People progress at
different rates and can get impatient waiting for each other or for
assistance. Too much waiting and the workshop loses momentum.
I like to work with small groups. I move around to offer assistance,
and encourage people to help themselves to materials and progress at
their own rate.
This wasn't going to work at SIGGRAPH-- the
classroom was spread out with no middle aisle. And I'd be wearing a body
mic. If I walked in front of the speakers, I'd set off ear-piercing
feedback (which I did, twice, oops...). Plus... I wanted to give people
sleeves that fit their hands but there was no way to measure hand sizes
of participants ahead of time.
So we had to get creative with solutions.
Dylan responds to a post-it note call for help.
There wasn't room for participants to get their own materials, and asking for help would slow the presentation down.
So I gave everyone bright yellow post-it notes. If they needed something, they wrote
it on the post-it, attached it to top of their computer monitor, and one of
our volunteers would sprint over to read the note and help or retrieve materials. Worked
Ziploc full of goodies
Materials were distributed to each workstation in baggies, in advance, thanks to workshop coordinator Brittany Ransom
. Plus, we put a pdf of the powerpoint presentation
on each computer's desktop (see below). I invited people to use it to progress at their own rate.
I tested out the activity with the volunteers ahead of time, and
realized that tech people were going to struggle with sewing the wires in place. They needed sewing diagrams
! Luckily I had time to add a few. We didn't have to worry too much about the knot because we had
Fraycheck-- a fabric glue. And glue makes sewing seem easy!
I also made diagrams on Fritzing
for the breadboard connections--super helpful.
Fits like a glove
Instead of sizing participants, everyone randomly received either a 10x30 or 12x40 size-sleeve on it (with the size labelled). I
figured this would get the right size into the hands of at least half
the attendees. I invited people to swap with their neighbors or flag us
down to request another size. (I also brought 10x40 and 12x50 sized
sleeves.) I was surprised to find that only a few people requested
The one thing we didn't pass out in advance was the resistors
In order to get the best range from your sensor, it's important to
match it with an appropriate fixed resistor
. But the resistance of the
sleeve depends on how it fits the wearer. So I had everyone
measure their sleeve resistance and write it on a post-it. The
volunteers picked up the post-its, and passed out appropriate
In preparation, I had taped the resistor packs onto a
large cardboard backing with the values labelled. During the workshop,
it was easy for the volunteers to grab the exact resistor they needed to
"fill the order" on each post-it.
Materials for Knitted Finger Sleeves
Resistive yarn (80% polyester, 20% stainless steel)Snaps
#199 10 Line (6.9 mm), nickel finishStriveday silicone coated stranded wire
AWG 26Male crimp pins
these are great for breadboarding
yarn for sewing wire
My tools (used to knit the sleeves ahead of time and attach wire with snaps)Superba Knitting MachineSnap Press Machine
Crimp tool (I use Engineer Inc PA-09 crimping pliers )
img: Tesia Kosmalski