Blinky LED Necklace That Actually Looks Chic

LED bib necklace by Agy

[Agy] a fabric hacker in Singapore has made a chic light sensitive LED necklace, and written up the tutorial on her blog  Green Issues by Agy. The lovely thing about this hack is that it doesn’t look like a breadboard round her neck, and most of the non-electronic components have been upcycled. [Agy] even used Swarovski crystals as LED diffusers for extra bling.

Using a LilyPad Arduino with a light sensor and a few LEDs, [Agy's] circuit is not complicated. She seems to be just branching out in to wearable tech, so it is nice that she learnt to program different modes for bright and low light (see video below). Her background in sewing, refashioning and upcycling does show through in her crafty use of an old pair of jeans and lace scraps for this project.

We love tech focused jewelry like [TigerUp's] LED matrix pendants or [Armilar's] Nixie-ify Me Necklace, but they do scream Geek. DIY electronically enhanced accessories are becoming more commonplace with the variety of micro-controller platforms expanding rapidly. Low energy wearable boards like MetaWear are making it easy for the tech to be discreet and easily connected to your smartphone.  3D printing is enabling us to create durable enclosures, settings and diffusers like the ones used for LED Stegosaurus Spikes. With all these things, hobby wearable projects can not only be functional and durable, but can also look great too.

Do you think this necklace would look out of place in a non-geeky gathering? Have you got any helpful tips for [Agy's] code? Have you tried using gems or crystals as diffusers and what were the results? Let us know in the comments below.




  1. ijogsh says:

    It looks like she hanged some fancy pants on her neck, seriously.

  2. JimBob says:

    Looks chic? Looks heavy to me? Does he have a matching handbag?

  3. vonskippy says:

    Are you sure you know what “chic” means?

  4. Eirinn says:

    I like how wannabee engineers are commenting on fashion. It’s like a gardener trying to indent code.

  5. Phil says:

    I hate the term ‘upcycled’.

  6. pcf11 says:

    Look chic? It looks more like a chandelier to me. That is where those crystals came from isn’t it?

  7. neimad says:


  8. Isaac S. says:

    I’ve helped my cousin with a couple of projects while she was at the FIT in New York. Few things we noticed when trying to play with fashion and light and trying to make it look not nerdy. The led shouldnt be the cool part of your fashion object, they are just an accent. Hide the led deep inside of something or make it very diffuse, in her case seashell art that had a faint glow inside the shells. Glow in the dark powder comes in really good colors and is often a better and simpler option, again you dont want to see the powder, we used it on the underside of jewellery leaves for a subtle backglow when light changes.

  9. Skeptical says:

    I really shouldn’t be able to look at the subject of a post and think “Hmm, there’s probably going to be a bunch of insular complaints about this”, and be right about it.

    What’s the deal people? It should be a cool thing when people outside of “traditional” engineering circles use new tools to create new things.

    Are your ego’s that fragile or your imagination that weak that you have no room for anything outside your comfort zone?

    • vonskippy says:

      To mis-quote Forest Gump – Ugly is as Ugly does. I’m pretty sure ego or imagination has nothing to do with it, the things a ginormous piece of ugly, and even non-fashion designers can spot that.

      Of course, the title does kind of prompt these comments, if you’re going to call something “chic”, you better be sure it’s actually chic before you call it that.

      I’m guessing if the title was “Blinky LED Necklace that’s kind of clever” wouldn’t have garnered as many snarky comments.

    • Pun says:

      But what would Troll-a-day be without a vicious and hypercritical comment thread?

    • Blue Footed Booby says:

      It seems to me people are responding to the editor’s characterization (“chic”) rather than the thing itself. It’d be kind of cool if I hadn’t just read a blurb trying to convince me it’s stylish. I can imagine someone who could pull it off, but suffice it to say it wouldn’t be as serious, unironic jewelry.

  10. cde says:

    I may not know fashion, but I know gaudy when I see it.

  11. George Johnson says:

    Ok, I’ll just come to the point.
    It’s BIG AND UGLY.
    Why not just hang a big laptop LCD around your neck?

  12. George Johnson says:

    I’ll add this to my comment.
    I’m not that much into wearable blinky LED’s and stuff.
    So technically it may be OK, I’m speaking just from an standpoint about how it looks. Does it NEED to be that big? I would think something more subtle would be a bit better. I mean, would you wear that even without the blinkies? Don’t be making stuff, and making it extra large, just so you can add more blinky to it.
    Take something you would normally wear, and add blinkies to that.

    I don’t really want to discourage somebody from making stuff, anything, just because it doesn’t look good (in my opinion, but then again, I need granimals for adults because I have no taste).
    That’s why I say, technically, it may be very good. But from an aesthetics standpoint, no I don’t like it.

    • Jasmine Brackett says:

      Yep, style is subjective and no-one likes everything that fashion throws out at them.

      Regarding the size – I did fail to mention above that in Agy’s original post, she described it as a ‘bib necklace’, which is a fashion trend at the moment and they do tend to be big.

  13. Rob S says:

    Apparently this is some new usage of the word ‘chic’ with which I was not previously familiar. (With apologies to Douglas Adams)

    Seriously, that is one major collection of hideous.

  14. Pun says:

    Nice work [Agy]! It’s cool how you hid the circuits behind something non-electronic-looking. I’ve been thinking about trying to make my own techy necklace. One of these days maybe… :)

  15. Someone says:

    Am I alone it not wanting to see this type of stuff posted here?

  16. I do this for a living says:

    There are websites for fashion and crafting all-day-long, this website should NOT be one of them. Nor would I expect see “Raspberry Pi Remote Audio Link” on f*ing Pintrest… Diversity is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t belong EVERY FUCKING WHERE.

  17. john ruby says:

    This reminds me of that Sonichu medallion that Christian Weston Chandler used to wear around his neck. Why are wearable electronics so god damn LAME? Must be nice to live in a world without ignorance and bullies. LMAO!!!!

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