Due Dates:

  • Proposal due Thursday, March 10, 2022
  • Presentations due Thursday, March 24, 2022
  • Documentation due Sunday, March 27, 2022


Select an emotion or feeling and design a textile circuit that conveys that emotion or feeling when they interact with it.

Often when we design an object or experience, we think about the use, the concept, the audience, the interaction, etc. What we consider less often in this process is how that object or experience will make a person feel (though there are entire disciplines devoted to this approach, namely affective design). I want you to explore the relationship between materiality and emotion through this project. Note that this relationship is built by our personal, social, and cultural lived experiences, values, symbols, and more. An object that might evoke whimsy in one person might turn out melancholia in another. I will not evaluate the success of your project on whether or not it generates the intended emotion in a person, but I will evaluate your project on the intentionality of the design (see rubric).

Circuit Requirements

Your circuit should:

  • Be contained on a textile, with the exception of your microcontroller. You should not use a breadboard in the final product. 
  • Include at least one textile switch or sensor that you constructed
  • Include at least one LED (through hole or surface mount)
  • Be programmed with code you have written or adapted for a microcontroller of your choice.
  • Please restrict your use of wires and alligator clips to only those that you absolutely need. If you come to class with a physical computing project and many wires, I will lower your grade. I am assessing you on the material knowledge you have gained over the semester and how you implement it.
  • You can use one of the circuits in the Getting Started section.

Design Decisions

You should make intentional design choices around communicating your feeling or emotion. Consider the following:

  • Materials. Rough fabric will generate a different feeling than something smooth. Consider the texture, color, and other properties.
  • Conductive materials. Your choice of threads, fabrics, snaps, etc to craft your circuit will impact the functionality and asthetics. 
  • Aesthetics. The visual design of the circuit traces and components is an opportunity to reinforce or communicate your emotion. The size and form are likewise variables at your disposal. Please consider the visual treatment of your LED as well!
  • Interaction. How are people interacting with the circuit? Touching, pulling, bending, stroking, pushing, punching, wrapping, etc. What is the output? Slow fading LED? Fast blinking LED? Delayed reaction? Those might elicit feelings of calm, anxiety, and frustration or tension respectively.


Initial Proposal due Thursday 3/10

Draft an initial proposal that includes: the emotion/feeling, material list, circuit diagram, and a brief description of how you will convey this emotion through this piece. You can write it with images and diagrams, create a video recording, draft a slideshow, etc. Please use whichever communication modality you feel most comfy with.

Projects + Presentations due Thursday 3/24

You will have 5 minutes total to present. Your peers will leave you feedback and snaps in the Slack #midterms channel. You should include the concept related to your emotion/feeling, rationale for your major design choices, project demo, and wins/challenges. You do not need to have a slide deck unless you want to.

Presentation structure:

  • Welcome (5 mins)
    • Sign up for a slot.
  • First group of five students (25 mins)
    • Please be ready to present as soon as the previous presenter finishes.
  • Second group of five students (25 mins)
  • Break (10 mins)
  • Third group of four students (20 mins)
  • Fourth group of four students (20 mins)
  • Wrap up (5 mins)

Documentation due Sunday 3/27

Capture the project concept and process in at least one form of media (e.g. demo video, slide deck, online tutorial, zine, etc). Everyone should create a video that demonstrates how the project works in case it decides not to work during your presentation.


I will evaluate your presentation and documentation across five criteria listed below:

ProcessStudent created one or no low or high fidelity prototypes. Project was not appropriately scoped to fit within time frame of due dates. Student created 2 or more prototypes (paper, schematics, breadboard circuit, material tests, etc) and appropriately scoped project to fit within time frame of due dates.Student created 3 or more low or high fidelity prototypes and appropriately scoped project to fit within time frame.
Design ChoicesStudent does not have clear rationale for design decisions related to at least 2 of the following materials, aesthetics, and interaction. Student presents clear reasoning for their design decisions related to materials, aesthetics, and interaction. Student has developed or adapted a system to generate and evaluate their design choices  related to materials, aesthetics, and interaction. 
Conductive MaterialsStudent has not deeply considered their choice of conductive materials. Student has researched and selected the appropriate conductive materials for traces, connectors, and sensors based on electrical and material properties.Student has made multiple tests to evaluate efficacy of conductive materials for traces, connectors, and sensors.
CircuitDoes not meet the  the circuit requirements.Meets all the circuit requirements.Meets all the circuit requirements and goes further adding more components, reducing wires, embedded microcontroller, etc.
DocumentationDocumentation does not communicate idea, process, and functionality.Documentation clearly communicates idea, process, and functionality.Documentation clearly and effectively communicates idea, process, and functionality.

Getting Started

  • I encourage you to think broadly of emotions and feeling. You can go broad with words like happy or tense or angry are broad. You can use words that indicate a more physical presence like cramped or buoyant or compressed.
  • Try telling a story or reflect on a memory. 
  • Generate a list of interaction mechanics. Map them to emotions.
  • Generate a list of emotions. Map them to  interaction mechanics.
  • Use one of the following circuits:
Sensor – Variable Resistor – Analog
Code: Week 4
Switch – Binary
Code: Arduino Examples – Digital Button or Debounce or Input Pull-up
Can use switch or sensor (need to change input pin to analog
Code: Week 6