Softbuilt: Crafting Technology with Textiles | The Penn State Stuckeman School Skip to main content

Softbuilt: Crafting Technology with Textiles

What opportunities are afforded by soft electronically active materials for architecture and our environment?  How can we use soft electronically active materials to bring intelligence to, augment and expand the environments we design and inhabit?  In what ways does work with computational textiles and soft material connect with textile crafting traditions and traditions of craft in architecture?

We will explore these questions through project based work where learning happens through making. There are weekly projects introduced by a weekly class lecture and/or demonstration. There is also a required lab time to enable students time to work on their projects.

Skills that students take away from this course include: how to make soft circuits and soft electronic materials; how to 3D print textiles; how to do some basic Arduino and Rhino Python programming; how to design and develop their own electronically active yarns, fabrics. and other soft materials such as plastic, latex and wood veneers; how to work with shape memory alloys and other actuators such as water and air; and how to make different kinds of hand crafted and ‘machine’ crafted textiles.

Other forms of knowledge that students will take from this course include an understanding and appreciation of soft, flexible materials in the development of architectural space an understanding of several different computational methods for soft fabrication; understanding frameworks for developing soft built works in the environment. No previous experience with programming or fabricating with soft materials is required.

PSU code: 
Course coordinator: 
Research Unit Connections: 
Stuckeman Center for Design Computing
Stuckeman Collaborative Design Research Center