LED Stickers Are an Easy Gateway into Making

Paper Crafts Technology
LED Stickers Are an Easy Gateway into Making
LiteSeeds
LiteSeeds LED stickers bring bright accents to craft projects.
MF15BA_Badge
Featured at the 10th annual Maker Faire Bay Area.

We all recognize the power of making with LEDs. (Arduino “Hello World!” anyone?) LEDs have been the lure drawing many into the world of making. However, LED projects have remained inaccessible to many young ladies. No more! LiteSeeds LED stickers are about to change all that.

While walking the aisles of Maker Faire’s Start-Up Pavilion I came across a different type of crowd huddled in front of a booth. It was a sea of young ladies wanting to make their own LED sticker. This craft project resonated with many other simple LED projects with one important exception. There was no soldering or wiring involved, only conductive tape and a sticker LED. The magic of this booth was the ease of incorporating an LED into a craft project.

Incorporating LEDs into a craft project is easy.
Incorporating LEDs into a craft project is easy.

Jill MacKay is a product maker with lots of experience in the craft industry. Inspired by Leah Buechley’s LED projects, she started working with conductive ink and paint in crafting. Finding LEDs hard to work with she had an epiphany, “We need an LED sticker!” After two years of development and after five different prototypes, LiteSeeds are now available via a Kickstarter campaign.

Stepping back a bit, many of us realize we need to do more to bring STEM to kids in exciting and engaging ways. This means providing a wide array of options. Not all kids get caught up in the same things. If delivering LED stickers to crafts brings more young ladies into making then it’s a good thing.

There's many a use for LiteSeeds!
There’s many a use for LiteSeeds!

20 thoughts on “LED Stickers Are an Easy Gateway into Making

  1. kidjedi says:

    While the stickers are cool, I can’t help but read this post as incredibly sexist. Young ladies “craft” and need an “easier in” than boys? Way to nurture a stereotype. How about, “These are great for getting young PEOPLE (no matter their sex) into making?” Am I missing something here?

    1. jmoore says:

      Agreed. I came to the comments section to specifically remark on the condescension in the author’s tone.

      1. DickButtkus says:

        I came here specifically to call you an idiot.

    2. TravisGood says:

      Please don’t take offense to the girl focus. I’m the father of two daughters and always struggled with finding ways to get my girls excited about making with electronics. If you had seen the booth then you’d realize the wide variety of people who were taken by the stickers but also the disproportionately large number of pre-teen girls who were excited by it. This is what caught my eye. This is what I found inspiring. This is what I chose to focus on. Yes, stickers get young PEOPLE into making but my lens was through the challenge I’ve seen with my daughters, in their schools and in at my makerspace.

      1. jmoore says:

        Perhaps your girls aren’t excited in the topic because you speak to them this way.

    3. Mr_Wannabefree says:

      Are you offended by statistics and mathematically derived assumptions? What about targeted marketing? Do you abstain from Facebook and the usage of Google/Android/iOS to maintain your consist stance?

      …Jeez. Get over it. Be consistent.
      (Yes, I assumed based on a generality that you aren’t being consistent)

      1. kidjedi says:

        I’m not sure you understand how statistics work. Statistics reflect what *is,* they don’t help us get to where we need to be. You are correct in your assesment of Facebook (though I’m not sure how Android/iOS applies -those are *devices,* not social networks), in that sources like that exacerbate the problem by furthering the stereotype that girls should *only* “like pretty things” and *only* boys would want to tinker with arduinos. It is our *responsibility* to stop talking/thinking like this, especially as parents. I think it’s GREAT that a father even cares if his *girls* are into Maker stuff, but I also think it’s a disservice to gender equality to bolster the idea that girls come to Making through fluffy things like “stickers.” Are LED stickers a great way to get kids into circuits and Making? Absolutely. Should our language in articles like this support the problems with the inequality between boys and girls? Absolutely not. It’s fine to point out that the booth was “swarmed by girls,” but it’s not OK to further the problem by writing an article that strengthens the core issue of said problem (“girls like pretty things, boys do science… and you have to *trick* girls into science”).

        1. Seanley says:

          I understand how statistics work. I also understood your passion and pursuit. Go for it! Perhaps you didn’t understand my post, I should’ve been more clear; This blog is a form targeted marketing. Capitalists (in all their forms) use statistics to sell a thing like you would using a “shotgun” across an empty field hoping to bag a bird. In that sense, if you want to hardcore flame a guy for simply using natural culturally accepted terminology, you should consider a more viable medium(ex:Reddit). The nudge approach would work best here. From here, Mr. Good seems to be a good man. Grinding an axe on his good intention is rude.

          FYI… Technically Android/iOS are operating systems, therefore, they can do things behind the scenes. They track you, they “phone home”, generate statistics, and … They spend huge a$$ money marketing to the target, who is you. Yes they can’t guarantee a customer yet, because at a base level, we as the 1% can still have the most base level human right: discrimination over personal preferences.

          1. kidjedi says:

            “hardcore flame a guy…” have you been “on the internets” before? Hardly hardcore flaming. Trying to nudge someone in the direction of changing their language to better the community. The more we (all people) tell females they are “only,” the more apt they will be to believe it.

          2. Seanley says:

            I admit, I exaggerated. It was excessive, please forgive me. After rereading, I see your point. However, the term “when in Rome do as the Romans” comes to mind. Flaming here is pretty light duty, hence, I recommended “the Reddits”. Leave the man alone: “incredibly sexist” … “Way to nurture a stereotype”. Do you see that as at all vindictive?!
            “Am I missing something here?” I believe that you did; you’re particularly sensitive in this area. Give yourself a minute. “Please don’t take offense to the girl focus” is what he said later.
            Jeez …Cut the guy some slack!!

          3. kidjedi says:

            Not to beat the proverbial horse, but “Jeez …Cut the guy some slack!!” is the exact problem. We don’t even NOTICE it in our own language when we “make girls less.” That’s exactly my point. Intelligent people need to be more diligent about ridding this planet of the notion that females are less.

          4. Seanley says:

            That’s the thing though: He never said they were less ANYTHING!! He said that the young female demographic requires a different tactic. Without getting into it too much, Females are different: FACT!
            Females GENERALLY have different interests: [statiscally proven] FACT!

  2. Jill MacKay says:

    Thanks Travis for the post about Liteseeds LED stickers. We were slammed at the Bay Area Maker Faire! We had people from age 3 to 76 in every different size, shape and color. It was a beautiful thing. I tried to design the make-n- take project so that it was easy to do and unintimidating to the general population. I guess it worked as we served almost a 1000 people in our little booth. It was very exciting and rewarding. Thanks again.

  3. Michael Black says:

    “Hello World” is about the simplest program you can make. It does something, so little that there I little complication, little that can go wrong. If it fails, you won’t get pages of cryptic error messages. But you have to start somewhere. It’s the foundation of later programming.
    Wiring up an LED is the hardware equivalent. You can’t get simpler and still do something useful. So something happens without much that can go wrong, and without a lot of work. If it fails, there are a finite number of things to check. But you need that first step, to see that you can twist wires together or solder them together. It’s not an end in itself, but a place to start, a place to gain confidence to move further.
    It fails if you simplify it, since you still have to make that first step.
    If girls don’t want to solder, then they probably should pursue other things.
    Another failing point of “Make”, broaden things so much that nobody is left behind, but simplified so much that few learn.
    Michael

    1. Andrew Terranova says:

      I disagree. A product that lowers the barrier to entry into electronics is a good thing. There are many paths to learning, and one need not take the most uphill path to eventually reach great heights.

  4. kayditodi says:

    “Finding LEDs hard to work with she had an epiphany, “We need an LED sticker!”” — Really?? Instead of the epiphany, doing a simple google search for ‘LED sticker’ would have returned a hit for circuit stickers (https://www.crowdsupply.com/chibitronics/circuit-stickers), which does this exact same thing, and a lot more..

    1. Jill MacKay says:

      3 weeks after placing my first production order with my USA manufacturer (almost 2 years into my development because this isn’t one of my licensed product, this I did with my own money and in my spare time) I found Jie’s crowd funding and felt like I had swallowed a stone. I had already put a lot into it and placed the production run so I continued forward. The world is big enough for both LED stickers. Though they have the same function they are constructed very differently. When in development there was no LED stickers in searches. Just saying.

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Speaker. Maker. Writer. Traveler. Father. Husband.

MakerCon Co-Chair (MakerCon.com) Maker City San Diego Roundtable Member San Diego Maker Faire Producer (SDMakerFaire.org)

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