Skip to main content

Maker Series Recap: Sara Chipps on Wearables

05-16-16 Rob Tarr, Kasey Bonifacio

“Hot Cross Buns,” princess dresses, and Kickstarter. Our wearable hardware workshop with Girl Develop It co-founder Sara Chipps.

Back in February, Maker Series took a break from software and dug into wearable hardware. Girl Develop It co-founder and CEO of Jewelbots Sara Chipps brought her knowledge and experience building Jewelbots—a wearable friendship bracelet that encourages young girls to learn how to code—to a great introductory class on wearables. Each attendee received a kit that included an Arduino Gemma, a few LEDs, and a spool of conductive thread to craft his/her masterpiece.

Getting Started

Workshop attendees came from a diverse range of backgrounds that included web developers, work-at-home moms, a large group of students from DECA and Ponitz high schools, college students, and more. Amongst them were people who knew how to code and wire circuits but had never sewn before. Others, however, had been sewing for years but had no knowledge of circuits. This made for a very collaborative day with everyone working together to figure out how to best sew in the circuit and get the code running on the Gemma.

Hands On

Prior to the workshop, attendees were advised to bring in an article of clothing or other accessory to sew the Gemma and LEDs into. One attendee brought in princess costume dresses and sewed in LEDs that lit up to the tune of “Hot Cross Buns”; one dad enhanced his daughter’s already sparkly Hello Kitty jacket by sewing in circuits for a more flashy effect; a Sparkboxer sewed LEDs into his laptop sleeve; and some people brought running hats to sew in LEDs.

Made my hat #blink with #arduino and a #gemma today. Thank you @SaraJChipps and @hearsparkbox. See more @brworkshop —P.R. Frank (@prfrank)

Happy with the progress on my daughter’s shirt this morning @brworkshop. Thanks @SaraJChipps and @jewelbots! —Ryan Cromwell (@cromwellryan)

Modeling Kevin’s #wearableskit #brworkshop #makerseries @jewelbots —K.C. Jones-Evans (@kcjonesevans)

Work complete! @jewelbots #brworkshop #makerseries #wearableskit —K.C. Jones-Evans (@kcjonesevans)

Best thing out of the workshop this week with the @jewelbots wearables kits. This dress plays hot crossed buns! —SaraReyChipps (@SaraJChipps)

Q&A with Sara

The second half of the day was dedicated to questions, a majority of which were about the whole process of starting a business and funding it on Kickstarter. Sara has had great Kickstarter success funding Jewelbots, which is dedicated toward drastically changing the number of girls entering STEM fields using hardware. Sara offered a wealth of information and talked about the entire process of funding Jewelbots on Kickstarter, from developing a product and prototyping it all the way to consumer testing and manufacturing. From her experiences, we learned that running a successful Kickstarter campaign isn’t as easy as it seems and is a full-time job that takes months of planning and careful execution. If you’re interested to learn more about the process, Sara wrote an insightful and deeply informative post on the topic on Medium.

A Different Look for Maker Series 2016

This year’s Maker Series lineup has been crafted to stretch attendees beyond the more typical technical presentations we’ve done in the past. Sara kicked off the Maker Series this year by challenging us to break away from our screens and build right off-screen. Everyone had a great day and walked home with some fun new toys and knowledge to share.

Collaborative Notes from the Maker Series

Related Content

User-Centered Thinking: 7 Things to Consider and a Free Guide

Want the benefits of UX but not sure where to start? Grab our guide to evaluate your needs, earn buy-in, and get hiring tips.

More Details

See Everything In

Want to talk about how we can work together?

Katie can help

A portrait of Vice President of Business Development, Katie Jennings.

Katie Jennings

Vice President of Business Development