Women and wearables

Last week I found out I was included on a list entitled “Top 100 Women in Wearable and Consumer Tech“, collated by Women of Wearables (@Women_Wearables on Twitter). I first met Marija from WoW at the BETT show last year and she contacted me to have a chat and do an interview shortly after. I had spent a large proportion of BETT showing people how to make LED robot badges and I had also just been working on two wearable resources for kids, for the Raspberry Pi Foundation – here they are if you want to try them out!

Last summer I was lucky enough to be able to attend Constructing Modern Knowledge in Manchester, NH (USA) which is unlike any other event I’ve ever been to. They have an absolute treasure trove of fabulous kit, knowledgeable facilitators and keen and enthusiastic participants. Mix those together and you end up with teams of educators collaborating to create…whatever their imagination permits! Here’s my wearable make from CMK, a colour sensing glove:

If you’re ever lucky enough to get the opportunity to attend CMK, go for it! You’ll also get to meet Gary and Sylvia, authors of Invent to Learn who are super friendly and run the event with (a very American level of) passion! 🙂 I had a fantastic time.

This is just one side of one room containing the kit available at CMK
This is just one side of one room containing the kit available at CMK

Anyway,  I am super happy to finally be “on a list” – I see lists of “Women in Tech” all the time, and I always wonder what it takes to be included. There is my name next to some pretty awesome women, but I can’t help but feel that I must have just have been in the right place at the right time. My style is more hacking together tutorials for kids with a bit of dodgy sewing than, I dunno, Senior VP at Apple Retail(!) – #5 on the list!  So, I wanted to share some work from other women who have done equally cool and hacky things with wearables at the maker end this year, in the hope that maybe next time their names will be on a list somewhere too! 🙂

First up, Rachel (@konichiwakitty) who I have been avidly following on Twitter. I particularly love that she runs wearable workshops at various events, and don’t miss her fabulous LED headbands – especially the one with donuts that was featured on the Adafruit website!

Secondly, Lorraine (@LMcUnderwood) who has a whole array of makes and tutorials for wearables and other cool physical computing stuff. I particularly like her sound sensing hoodie – check it out! She manages to make my nemesis (powering large quantities of LEDs from a microcontroller) look like a breeze.

Thirdly, Tanya (@tanurai) who made a fabulous LED dress for her works do, and whose feed is constantly filled with inspirational quick makes and fun things she’s put together. She’s also interested in making digital making accessible to as many people as possible, which is a huge plus in my book.

Of course, there are probably tons more cool projects I’ve missed and women who have created awesome wearables over the past year. If you’ve created something you’re proud of or you’ve spotted some maker wearable coolness, leave a comment below. Let’s celebrate the digital making end of women and wearables!

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