E-textiles are a newly emerging technology that can be seen in consumer, educational, and hackerspace environments. Specifically, the development of e-textiles requires a minimum level of familiarity with a variety of concepts; one of which is circuit design and prototyping.

Unfortunately, people with disabilities are rarely included in the design and development of e- textiles, so methods to manipulate these wearable interactive technologies are not always accessible to creators with disabilities. Therefore, we conducted this study to begin understanding how adults with intellectual disabilities perceive and interact with this new type of electronic technology.

This research explores an accessible process to enable individuals with intellectual disabilities to create their own e-textiles. Circuit puzzles, unique to each participant’s chosen circuit, were introduced to simplify the circuit designing and prototyping process. A pilot study with two participants showed that adults with intellectual disabilities can successfully create their own e- textiles provided some initial feedback regarding their circuit puzzles. We then conducted a larger study with eight participants building upon an initial pilot to further examine the effectiveness of the circuit puzzles and to determine whether participants gain a sense of empowerment through learning more about this emerging technology. This report discusses the findings of both the pilot and larger study.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Electronic textiles--Design; People with mental disabilities--Recreation

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Human-Computer Interaction (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Information Sciences and Technologies (GCCIS)


Kristen Shiniohara

Advisor/Committee Member

Bryan French

Advisor/Committee Member

Yasmin El-Glaly


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes