Project image
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$12,584
pledged of $15,000pledged of $15,000 goal
154
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, February 15 2015 2:09 PM UTC +00:00
$12,584
pledged of $15,000pledged of $15,000 goal
154
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, February 15 2015 2:09 PM UTC +00:00

About

A new way to play and learn

Stitch circuits to bring your cast of circus-themed characters to life!

We designed Cirkits to be a fun and unique way of introducing children to sewable electronics. We wanted to ensure our product facilitated playing and learning, a key concept behind our work and research. As a result, we decided to focus our design around a series of Circus characters to encourage interaction, storytelling, playing and learning.

How it works: Cards + Components

Cirkits cards come in six different characters of varying difficulties. Each card comes with conductive thread, a plastic sewing needle, and a set of electronic components. Sew LEDs, batteries, and more into simple circuits to animate your characters, and pre-cut holes and perforations make sewing and popping out your character easy!

All cards will come with the following components: conductive thread, plastic sewing needles, a battery and sewable LEDs. Advanced cards will come with these basic components as well as a motor, sound buzzer, and a pre-programed LilyTiny microcontroller. Through the different levels of difficulty of the cards, children will be introduced to both simple, series and parallel circuits that include various components. 

Beginner

Seal: nose lights up
Seal: nose lights up
Mouse: bicep lights up
Mouse: bicep lights up
Bear: bow lights up
Bear: bow lights up

Advanced

Elephant: sings and hat lights up
Elephant: sings and hat lights up
Lion: hoop flickers
Lion: hoop flickers
Monkey: spins around hoop
Monkey: spins around hoop

For more information on e-sewing, check out the LilyPad Arduino website!
Sewing Basics
E-Sewing: Electronic Components Buzzer

How it works: Board

Not only are our characters “electronic” but so is our board! We’ve pioneered new techniques that allow us to use conductive ink as traces for circuits. Add a battery to your board to watch your Circus come to life.

Assembly

Cirkits is a great activity for children and adults to play and learn together! Due to the small electronic components, Cirkits is recommended for children ages 6 and up. Parental supervision is recommended.

To assemble a basic Cirkits card, connect the positive side of the battery with the positive leg of the LED using the conductive thread. Repeat with the negative side. Fix the battery to the back of your card with a sticker and pop your character out of the card to play. Cirkits cards are created using simple, series or parallel circuits, but we suggest sketching out your circuit as a guide before you begin.

Background

Cirkits comes from a rich history of engineering, design and education. For centuries, children learned how to sew using stitchcards. In the early 1800s, Friedrich Froebel, best known for developing the concept of “kindergarten” designed a series of toys and activities for children. Ranging from woolen balls to building blocks to stitchcards, these objects were designed with the purpose of encouraging children to play and learn. Since then, Froebel's toys have been credited as a source of inspiration for a number of young designers – Charlies Eames, Buckminster Fuller, and Frank Lloyd Wright are just a few famous examples of people who played with Froebel's toys as children.

Many of today’s popular construction kits, such as Lincoln Logs and Lego blocks, have been inspired by Froebel’s materials. One of Froebel’s toys, however, seems to have been mostly forgotten: the 12th toy that engaged children in embroidery and sewing. Cirkits bring back this tradition into the 21st century by providing cards for learning the first steps of sewing and by learning how to make circuits by using conductive thread, LEDs and batteries.

Prototypes

Research

For the last five years, we have worked with hundreds of kids and adults all across Philadelphia to explore the ideas and concepts behind Cirkits. In events at schools, The Franklin Institute and the Free Library of Philadelphia, we have helped participants learn about crafting, circuitry and computing with electronic textiles. Cirkits draws on this research and translates it into a fun way for children to get excited about engineering and science.

Bios

Cirkits was created by an interdisciplinary team of designers at the University of Pennsylvania, led by Yasmin Kafai of the Graduate School of Education, Orkan Telhan of the School of Design, and graduate students from Penn Engineering's Integrated Product Design program.

 A very special thanks to: 

as well as the Albert Family, The Franklin Institute, and Barrie Aldleberg.

All photo and video production courtesy of Peter Murray (www.petermurrayphotography.com). 

As Featured On: 

Risks and challenges

We're passionate about our product, but also recognize the challenges of working with a relatively new technology and fulfilling orders. Some bumps and challenges will inevitably occur and we have designed a number of contingency plans should we run into any roadblocks with our suppliers or producers.

Our goal with Cirkits is to get as many children as possible exposed to sewable electronics and we see Cirkits as a start to achieving this goal. We are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality product we can make, but also recognize that Cirkits will possess a level of handmadeness unlike a commercially produced product you might purchase in a store. As full time students and professors we are dedicated to making this project a success, but recognize that it may at times delay our ability to respond to your questions or concerns. Developing a product of the highest quality we can achieve to our backers is a top priority to us and we will do all that we can to make sure we meet this goal.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    ~Valentine's Day Postcard~ A festive thank you from the Cirkits Team! Comes with instructions on how to stitch your own card using your own components.

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    Pledge US$ 30 or more About US$ 30

    Beginner set of 3 Cirkits cards! Includes the Seal, Mouse, and Bear cards as well as conductive thread, LEDs, and batteries to bring your characters to life!

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    Pledge US$ 30 or more About US$ 30

    *INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING* Beginner set of 3 Cirkits cards! Includes the Seal, Mouse, and Bear cards as well as conductive thread, LED's, and batteries to bring your characters to life!

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    Pledge US$ 80 or more About US$ 80

    Beginner and advanced set of 6 Cirkits cards! Includes the Seal, Mouse, Bear, Elephant, Lion, and Monkey cards. This set also includes conductive thread, LED's, batteries, a small motor, two microcontrollers, and a speaker to make your characters light up, move, and sing!

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    Pledge US$ 80 or more About US$ 80

    *INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING* Beginner and advanced set of 6 Cirkits cards! Includes the Seal, Mouse, Bear, Elephant, Lion, and Monkey cards. This set also includes conductive thread, LED's, batteries, a small motor, two microcontrollers, and a speaker to make your characters light up, move, and sing!

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    Pledge US$ 149 or more About US$ 149

    Complete Cirkits cards and board set! This includes all 6 Cirkits cards and applicable materials and components, as well as a specially screen printed conductive board, plus a *BONUS* acrobat card!

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    Limited 21 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 149 or more About US$ 149

    *INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING* Complete Cirkits cards and board set! This includes all 6 Cirkits cards and applicable materials and components, as well as a specially screen printed conductive board, plus a *BONUS* acrobat card!

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    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    Classroom Pack! This set includes 10 beginner sets of Cirkits cards and all applicable materials and components (30 cards in total).

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    Limited 6 backers
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    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    *INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING* Classroom Pack! This set includes 10 beginner sets of Cirkits cards and all applicable materials and components (30 cards in total).

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Funding period

- (30 days)