This course focuses on wearable and ‘soft’ computing as a vehicle for subversion and artistic appropriation. Readings emphasize theoretical discourse on the relationships of the body, technology, fashion, social interactions and environment. Concepts are developed, designed and prototyped into working pieces by participants addressing personal expression and social dialog. Soft circuits (conductive paint, fabric, etc), new and recycled materials are explored in the development of expressive computational forms.

Instructor: Christine Shallenberg: cshall@saic.edu

ATS kinetics and electronics manager: Anna Yu: ayu@saic.edu

Students are best served by attending all classes. More than three absences will result in an incomplete or a grade of “no credit.” Two unexcused late arrivals or early departures are the equivalent to missing one class. Attendance at Final Critiques on December 13 is mandatory. Speak with the instructor if you have any questions or concerns about attendance.

Students are required to complete all weekly assignments and to present substantial work in final projects for critique at the end of the term.

The readings for this course will be either delivered in class or found online. Some readings will support the technical component of the course, while other readings will be used as the basis of class discussion regarding critical issues of digital art and culture. Additional suggested readings can be found on the class website.

Each student needs to create an account at https://wearablesandsoftcomputing.wordpress.com which will be the course community website and blog. It will be used to post any assignments, projects and documentation as well as research and techniques. All assignments are due at the beginning of class as they will be discussed first thing. There are weekly assignments for blog postings. Active participation in both the reading discussions and blog is required to receive credit for this class.

You are responsible for documenting your work through photography, safe physical storage, and data backup. Documentation of process and final projects will be required posts to our class blog. I may request images of your work for archival purposes.

Bring to every class: Your laptop, sketchbook, drawing/sketching media, and class kit materials (see below). You will be told in advance what additional specialty items you will need to bring with you for each class. Coming to class unprepared will contribute toward a No Credit for the course.

Students are expected to obtain their own materials for this course as needed for their projects.  Each project will have different supply requirements.  The ability to search for and obtain proper materials is essential to completing a soft computing project. A list of local vendors and online suppliers is found on the class website.

The class kit for this course is divided into 2 parts and must be purchased at the resale center.

Kit includes:

Part I: Wearables & Soft Computing Kit   Price: ???
–       76 ft Conductive thread
–       Needle Set
–       1 ft x 36 inch Velostat ® film
–       1 ft x 22 inch Pure Copper Polyester Taffeta Fabric
–       coin cell battery holder
–       2 coin cell batteries
–       Breadboard
–       Neopixel LEDs
–       Haptic Motor

Part II:   Adafruit Flora Kit   Price: ???
–       1 Adafruit Flora Microcontroller
–       1 Polymer Lithium Ion Battery – 500mAh
–       1 Micro Lipo Charger
–       1 USB micro cable

Total Price for both kits: ???
Note: students who already have a Lilypad, Flora (or an Arduino) are not required to buy both kits. They only need to purchase Part I of the kit

Please note that the syllabus is subject to change.


Student Attendance

SAIC policy states that students are expected to attend all classes regularly and on time.

Students should miss class only with reasonable cause. If a student needs to miss class with reasonable cause, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor to receive instruction for how to make up for the missed class. It is the instructor’s responsibility to give this information to the student as his/her/their schedule permits. Missing class for other than a reasonable cause may jeopardize the student’s academic standing in the class.

SAIC’s recommended institutional policy is as follows: If a student misses MORE than three classes, whether or not for a reasonable cause, the student will fail the class, if the student does not withdraw from the class prior to the deadline for withdrawal with a grade of “W.” Deadline for withdrawal: October 31, 2017 (fall semester).

Reasonable cause to miss a class might include:

  • Illness or hospitalization (the student should contact Health Services, who will relay information to the faculty in whose class the student is enrolled)
  • Observation of a religious holiday
  • Family illness or death

Academic Misconduct

From the SAIC Student Handbook:

Academic misconduct includes both plagiarism and cheating, and may consist of: the submission of the work of another as one’s own; unauthorized assistance on a test or assignment; submission of the same work for more than one class without the knowledge and consent of all instructors; or the failure to properly cite texts or ideas from other sources.

Academic integrity is expected in all coursework, including online learning. It is assumed that the person receiving the credit for the course is the person completing the work. SAIC has processes in place that protect student privacy and uses LDAP authentication to verify student identity.

Specific procedures for faculty to follow in the case of academic misconduct are detailed in the Student Handbook.

Additional resources for students:

  • Read “Plagiarism: How to Recognize It and Avoid It: a short guide prepared by the Faculty Senate Student Life Subcommitee in 2004.
  • Read the Flaxman Library’s quick guide titled “AVOID PLAGIARISM.”

 Accommodations Statement

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

SAIC is committed to full compliance with all laws regarding equal opportunities for students with disabilities.  Students with known or suspected disabilities, such as a Reading/Writing Disorder, ADD/ADHD, and/or a mental health condition who think they would benefit from assistance or accommodations should first contact the Disability and Learning Resource Center (DLRC) to schedule an appointment. DLRC staff will review your disability documentation and work with you to determine reasonable accommodations. They will then provide you with a letter outlining the approved accommodations for you to deliver to your instructors.  This letter must be presented before any accommodations will be implemented. You should contact the DLRC as early in the semester as possible.  The DLRC is located within the Wellness Center on the 13th floor of 116 S Michigan Ave. and can be reached via phone at 312.499.4278 or email at dlrc@saic.edu.


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