BBtv: Star Simpson's first interview on the Boston airport LED sweatshirt scare.


Update: Complete and unedited transcript of our interview here.

In today's episode of Boing Boing tv: One year ago, a 19-year-old MIT engineering student named Star Simpson got dressed to go pick up a friend at Boston's Logan airport. She pulled a hoodie out of her closet, a wearable tech design she'd made with a light-up LED-circuit on the chest. In her hand was a small pink rose she'd crafted from hardened clay, a gift for her friend.

A few hours later at the airport, after an airport employee mistook her sweatshirt for a bomb and the rose for an explosive implement, Star found herself surrounded by 40 armed police who believed she was a suicide bomber. She was arrested for "possessing a hoax device," and an unprecedented media frenzy ensued. Here was the Boing Boing post from that day.

A year later, after a long series of court dates, a Boston judge ruled that Star must perform community service and make a public apology. Star says she intended no harm. She believes the authorities were unfairly harsh with her long after it was obvious she posed no threat, and that legal proceedings were unduly influenced by a prevailing atmosphere of anxiety over terrorism (this just months after a similar case in Boston).

She has since dropped out of MIT, and says the school's reaction felt like "being disowned." She has moved out of Boston in part because of recurring threats and attacks from strangers.

Star has finally come forward to tell her side of the story publicly, and she does so on Boing Boing tv today.


Link to Boing Boing tv episode with downloadable video, discussion, and video podcast subscription instructions.


If you'd like to make your very own LED breadboard hoodie, the folks at Instructables have just published Star's plans here. They're too graceful to say this, but I will: do not wear this to airports. Make a Breadboard Sweatshirt (Instant Wearable Electronics!)

MAKE will soon be publishing a related article.

Previous Boing Boing tv episodes :

* Star Simpson's fuzzy logic, MacGyver, MIT lasers, and trippy glasses: Maker Faire with Phil Torrone

Related Boing Boing blog posts:

* MIT student arrested for entering Boston airport with "fake bomb"

* Improvising electronic devices is not a crime

* OK Go's LED Jackets

* ATHF LEDs all over Boston today



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