LED Ring Around the ESP8266

The world needs more blinky lights, and [Bertus Kruger] has created a neat way to make lights blink wirelessly. He has a footprint in the middle of the board for soldering the castellated ESP8266 module, and an LED ring around it to create the WiFi Pixel. It’s an LED ring that can be controlled over a WiFi connection. His design is based on a combination of the ubiquitous ESP8266 WiFi chip and a NeoPixel ring from AdaFruit, so there are already great examples of how to code and control the hardware. The project is still in progress, but he has released all of the details, including the Gerber files for the board and the Arduino code that the ESP8266 is running.

It’s a great start: add in battery support and you could have an awesome way to have portable LED blinky light rings. For those who want to try it out without building your own circuit boards, [Bertus] says that it could be built with an ESP8266 dev board and an Adafruit NeoPixel ring. Currently, he is running the device from USB, but there is no reason why it couldn’t be powered from a battery for some portable USB blinkiness.

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Knitted Circuit Board Lends Flexibility to E-Textiles

knitted circuit boardWhat could be better than sewing a circuit into wearable fabric? How about rolling your own circuit-ready knits? Chicago-based artist and assistant professor [Jesse] has done just that by perfecting a method for knitting solderable circuit boards.

This can be done by hand or with a knitting machine. The basic idea is that 2-3 strands of 34-36AWG bus wire are knitted into mercerized cotton yarn in rows, mimicking a piece of stripboard. Once the knitting is blocked and the component layout chosen, the floating bus wire strands between the rows are cut as you would cut unneeded stripboard traces. When it’s all done, [Jesse] used iron-on backing to protect her skin from scratches and lead transfer.

Her tutorial covers a simple LED circuit with a battery and a sliding switch, though she describes in detail how this can be expanded for more complex circuitry and offers good suggestions for working with different components. She also advocates feeding the bus wire from a spool rack to maintain tension and recommends stretching a piece of nylon stocking over the spool to keep it from unfurling all over the place.

This is the most aesthetically appealing e-textile work we’ve seen since this electro-embroidery piece or this blinky LED necklace, and it’s fascinating to watch the e-textile world unfold. Watch [Jesse]’s short videos after the break where she demonstrates a simple blinky knit as well as a lovely pulsing heart collar.

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