Author Archives: admin

How a Transistor Really Works

This is hands-down the BEST tutorial I have come across to describe how a transistor works and why it can act as a switch and signal amplifier. For those of you who are working with loads that need more current/voltage and therefore a transistor, I *highly* recommend you watch this immediately.

Enjoy 🙂

Final Presentation Guidelines

Woohoo! It’s finals time 🙂 Here’s everything you need to know – email me with any questions. Also, please note that last class, I said your final documentation was due the Thursday after final presentations. I have changed this to Wednesday, May 16 at midnight to ensure I get grades in on time.


You MUST bring your prototype to show – even if it is not working. If you require a specific environment, please email me.

You will have 8 minutes to present. This includes time for feedback, so structure your presentation accordingly. Your should include the following in your presentation ( in whatever order you like):

  • Problem statement + design goals
  • Concept
  • Precedents
  • Project demo or video of project demo
  • Playtesting + feedback
  • Process documentation
  • Challenges you faced
  • Future iterations

You should make a short video introducing your project. It should include the title of your piece, your concept, and a prototype demo.

DUE WEDNESDAY, MAY 16 AT MIDNIGHT (I will not accept late submissions)


  • Create a blog post that documents your final project. It should include:
    • Your presentation
    • Concept + Goals. What is your concept? What were your goals? Why did you decide on this project form for your concept and goal?
    • Intended audience. Who is this for? Why did you choose this audience?
    • Precedents. Share any precedents that inspired you.
    • Description of the project. Discuss the process of creating this project. How does it work? What is the desired interaction?
    • Video documentation. Include the video described above.
    • Materials list. List the materials you used and link to where people can purchase.
    • Process + Prototypes. Discuss the process of creating this project. Show your prototypes, playtests, sketches, interaction diagrams, and any other files that illustrate the tools you used. What challenges did you faced? What would you do in a future iteration?
    • Circuit diagram. Be sure to include a circuit diagram or drawing. Be specific and detailed.


I will assess your project by the following criteria:

Ideation, Concept, and Design

  • Demonstrates a strong conceptual foundation and clearly stated design goals
  • Clearly articulates audience
  • Able to translate ideas/concepts into project form within a given environment
  • Thoughtful integration of design elements
  • Presents functioning, high fidelity prototype or working documentation if was unable to get working
  • Does not use breadboard for circuit housing
  • Synthesizes design and technology to create interesting and contextually significant work that makes contributions to the domain

Process + Materials

  • Thoroughly documented according to class guidelines
  • Uses materials, tools, and processes learned in class
  • Iterated prototypes
  • Demonstrated effective problem-solving/ finding skills


  • Articulated concept and problem statement clearly
  • Prepared for presentation (slides ready and prototype set up)
  • Addresses all required elements for presentation as described above
  • Stays within presentation timeframe (8 minutes)

Heating Circuits

For those of you interested in heating circuits and thermochromic ink, below are some helpful circuit configurations. These circuits were taken from the Building Heat Controlling Circuit workshop at eTextile Summer Camp, KOBAKANT’s How to Get What You Want site, and the thermochromic ink workshop at eTextile Spring Break. Please see these links for a deeper explanation on different types of heating elements and power sources:

This uses a TIP 120 but you can also use a Mosfet IRLZ34N SPBF (they have the same pinout).

More on transistors here and here:


Week 12 Assignment

Create a post with
1) The next iteration of your prototype.

Use the class documentation format.
2) Your playtesting plan and desired feedback.
To think about: Who will you playtest with? How will you get their consent? What feedback do you want? What questions will you ask? What information do they need to know before starting? How much will you help them during the test? How will you debrief them?

Week 10 + 11 Assignment

Due April 5: Create a blog post with the following:

  • Refined project description
  • Interaction/systems diagram
  • Timeline with milestones
  • Materials list
  • Precedents or references

Due April 12: Create a blog post with the following:
Documentation of your first prototype. This can be a circuit, physical object, etc. It should include any initial challenges or questions you have.

Week 8 Assignment

  1. Write a simple paragraph or any graph to show the difference between DC, Stepper, and Servo Motors.
  2. Make a circuit using any of the new things you learned today- H bridges/ controlling high current loads OR work with a motor you haven’t worked with before OR Try making a circuit using multiple motors. Document it on the blog per the usual format.