ToorCamp 2022

Soft Electronics
2022-07-14, 17:00–17:50 (US/Pacific), Prime Dome

This talk explores the softer side of electronics, from electronic embroidery and e-textiles to soft robotics and flexible PCB design. We will take a look at some of the exciting technologies in this field, including industrial machines that embroider traces to microcontrollers, open source soft robotics, 'pick and place' sewable LEDs, e-textiles in space, fabric speakers and the world of flexible and stretchable PCB design. I will also share examples of how engineers, scientists and artists are using these soft electronics technologies in their work.

As well as this higher level overview, we will take a look at a number of accessible DIY projects, along with practical tips on materials and techniques, and suggestions for further learning. I will also talk about softness in electronics in a non-literal sense, looking at some cool projects from the community that link emotions, vulnerability and physical computing.

Helen Leigh is a creative technologist who specializes in musical instruments and experimental electronics. She is Head of Community at Crowd Supply, a curated crowdfunding platform for open hardware products. Leigh is the author of The Crafty Kid’s Guide to DIY Electronics, and has written many articles about hardware for Make Magazine, Hackspace Magazine and Hackaday. Find her on Twitter @helenleigh.

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