In an update on her Pararchive research project entitled Back to the Future: When Wearable Technology Meets Archive Content, we learnt how Michelle – a member of the MadLab Manchester Arduino Group and Founder and Director of Made With Glove Ltd – is designing fashionable heated gloves for women who suffer from the Raynaud’s disease (a condition that causes body parts – especially fingers, toes, the tip of the nose and ears – to feel numb and to cool in response to cold temperatures or stress). In doing so, Michelle is drawing on archival material and collections from our public cultural institution partners – particularly the Science Museum Group among many other sources. One such source is an interesting course called Wearables and e-textiles that Michelle attended at Fab Lab Manchester. Below Michelle gives us an account of her experience at the course and how the insights gained might feed into the design of her fashionable heated gloves. Of the first session of the course, Michelle writes:
If anything positive came out of Episode 2 of the Apprentice UK, it was making the general public a-wear of the wearable tech industry that is booming. From a camera jumper with flashing LED lights to a solar paneled heated jacket turned mobile phone charger, Lord Sugar rapidly fired 2 apprentices for poorly managing their teams and designing products that questioned whether the general public would either wear or buy them. It was timely then, when Fab Lab Manchester organised a 6-month Wearables and e-textiles course so that anyone interested in wearables could make their own piece of wearable tech and learn how to code using Arduino compatible micro-controllers designed to empower wearable projects.
Enter 14 year-old, Amy Mather aka @MiniGirlGeek who volunteered to host the event. A huge task for anyone let alone a 14 year-old teaching her peers, business owners, people interested in wearable tech and those wanting to learn how to code. From kids to adults, it clearly showed that wearable tech is an interest to a variety of age groups. The first session was an introductory course to basic circuitry using conductive thread, LED lights and a battery to create a flashing Halloween bat decoration. We all empathised with each other when our conductive thread frayed like a cat’s whisker causing frustrations or when only one LED light flashed. But, we all cheered with each other when both LEDs worked and we completed our very first intro to circuitry. Our next project will be aimed at starting our Christmas projects using all the great equipment at Fab Lab Manchester including laser cutters, sewing machines and even 3D printers that are available to us. Michelle concludes here.
From the perspective of Pararchive, we are proud to follow Michelle’s individual research journey (as we are doing for all of the members of our community partner groups) and to discover how her research is connecting her with other like-minded people from the Fab Lab community in Manchester. Given that one of our key objectives from the outset has been to explore how to connect and bring together different community groups around shared interests and affinities, Michelle’s research journey appears to offer a good way to making these connections. Stay tuned for more updates on Michelle’s project. You can follow Michelle on Twitter @MadewithGlove.