M. A. D. E.

Intermediate E-textiles Guides


Music | Art | Design | Experiences

Are your students ready for some more challenges?

The ECS E-Textiles team now offers four additional e-textiles modules (Music, NeoPixels, Fading LEDs, and Mapping) and a new arts project focused on community (Conceal/Reveal). These modules assume that creators have basic experience with making lighting patterns and conditionals in Arduino (i.e., with digitalWrite(), delay(), if/else commands). Each module includes scaffolded practical activities and a series of easy-to-hard challenges.

These modules provide excellent ways to engage students who want to introduce additional aesthetic effects into their e-textile projects and/or need an extra challenge, and to create art through computation. While we have written the modules with the Adafruit Circuit Playground in mind, the code and the general principles of the modules can be used with any Arduino hardware (Arduino Uno, LilyPad, etc.).

Some units include code samples and starters, all of which are available on our Supporting Code page.

In this module, students learn to program a melody. The module introduces music and sound conceptually, then shows students how to program a series of notes on their Circuit Playground. Students learn about arrays and for() loops as a way to play multiple pitches and durations, then about the components of musical notation and sheet music so that they can transpose a piece of written music into code for the Circuit Playground (or similar board) to play a melody. View the pdf here.

In this module, students learn to program multiple multicolored lights on the Circuit Playground (also available with other microcontroller boards and separately). After learning how to turn on one NeoPixel, students explore for() loops to program RGB code and interactivity with buttons. Students set the NeoPixels’ color, timing, and placement. View the pdf here.

In this module, students learn to program an Arduino microcontroller to fade LEDs on and off in complex ways. The unit introduces fading one LED and then dives into uses of for() loops and index variables to fade lights at different speeds, to develop light patterns, and to coordinate multiple LEDs at once. View the pdf here.

In this module, students learn to “map” sensor input values to a smaller range of values for an Arduino microcontroller to output in light, sound, or timing. The module introduces the built-in map() function as a way to relate a wide range of input values (for instance from light or sound sensors) to a shorter range of output values (for instance, lights, tones, or time durations). Students then experiment with selecting more limited ranges of inputs and outputs to customize special effects—for instance, dimming a light or making a speaker play notes proportional to the brightness of a room. View the pdf here.

This is a new e-textile project that would fit equally well in an arts class, a CS class, or a combination of the two. This community arts project engages students in revealing something normally concealed in a community important to them. The project includes visual elements (drawn, pictured, and lighting effects), musical components, and emotionally evocative interaction. It includes reflective prompts and guidance on creating artist statements. View the pdf here.