From the Hansen reading:

“As technology, LEDs ‘belong’ to the computer and to the Internet era as they look good in print but are particularly stunning on the backlit screen of the computer.”

This quote has grabbed me almost more than anything I’ve read in this entire class (and there have been some doozies). It makes me ask, why are technologies ever popularized? What kind of factors go into the proliferation/dissemination of technology?

To me, LEDs aren’t particularly interesting or engaging. They’re just glowing lights, and to see them in Arduino and such isn’t really that compelling to me. I’ve wondered why so many people create designs based around LEDs, and this is an interesting thought. I don’t know how true it actually is (maybe other people find LEDs much more interesting or see the possibilities better than I do), but still, makes me wonder.

I remember seeing clothing with LEDs at the CHI 2012 Interactivity exhibit. The creator touted this clothing as interactive because you could zip and unzip panels in the clothing that revealed or hid the LEDs. I thought this was one of the more boring interpretations of “interactivity” when it comes to clothing and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why this was cool/interesting enough to display at CHI. Something just fell flat with me. Maybe it’s just disenchantment with LEDs in general, or the fact that “ooh look we used LEDs, we’re totally using technology in our clothing” was about as far as it went.

On the other hand, I also remember reading about a hoodie someone created with LEDs sewn in the shape of arrows on the back of it, and you could use the LED arrows as turn signals while riding a bike. I thought this was a lot more impressive, particularly because it’s not just starry-eyed “hey check us out, we got LEDs in clothing” but the LEDs actually have a purpose in the clothing other than “this is cool”.

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