“Starry Night” Dress Shines on the Experience of Multiple Builds

[Dave Hrynkiw] wrote up some practical and useful detail around embedding electronics into clothing. It centers around his daughter’s “Starry Night” high school graduation dress, which is the culmination of a lot of experimentation in finding the best way to do things. His daughter accented the dress with LEDs to produce a twinkling starfield effect, and a laser-cut RGB pendant to match.

While [Dave] is the president of Solarbotics and pitches some products in the process of writing it all up, the post is full of genuinely useful tips that were all learned though practical use and experimentation. Imagine how awesome it must be growing up a child of a “local technology-hacking company” founder — akin to growing up as Willy Wonka’s progeny.

What advice does [Dave] have for making electronics an awesome part of garments? For example, the fact that regular hookup wire isn’t very well suited to embedding into clothing due to the need for high flexibility. There is also the concept of sequestering electronics into a separate Technology Layer — a must for anything that will be used more than once. The idea is to “build your technology so it can be isolated from the fashion aspect as much as possible. It makes building and maintenance of both the fashion and technology aspects much simpler.”

Slapping some LEDs and a battery pack into clothing might do the trick if all you care about is some bling, but if you want something that actually highlights and complements clothing while also being able to stand up to repeated use, this is a great read. A simple lighting effect that complements a design isn’t difficult, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel or make the same mistakes others have encountered. Video is embedded below.

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Knappa Tutu: Some Dancing Required

Sometimes, you see a lamp shade and you’re just intoxicated enough to put it on your head like a hat and dance around on the table. Other times, you see the same lamp shade, and decide to wire it up with Neopixels, an accelerometer, and an Arduino and make a flowery, motion-activated light show when you wear it as a dress. Or at least that’s what we’ve heard.

[Cheng] gets full marks for the neo-IKEA name for the project and bonus points for clean execution and some nice animations to boot. The build is straightforward: build up the lamp so that it fits around your waist, zip-tie in the RGB LED strip, and connect up accelerometer and microcontroller. A tiny bit of coding later, and you’re off to the disco. It looks like a ridiculous amount of fun, and a sweet weekend build.

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Building a Business Around Generative Design and Marvels of 3D Printing

Generative design is a method of creating something by feeding seed data into an algorithm. It might be hard at first to figure out how someone would build a business around this, but that’s exactly what Nervous System has been doing with great success. The secret is not only in the algorithm, but in how they’re bringing it to life.

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[Jeri’s] dress lights up when someone invades her personal space — step back nerds!

[Jeri] threw down the geeky fashion gauntlet by building this LED enhanced dress. She chose to assemble the project for her trip to BarBot 2011, and we can’t think of a more appropriate setting for such a garment. It uses a motion sensor to set off a delayed pattern of blue lights hidden underneath the fabric.The best part of the hack is the instamatic camera. It looks like a fashion accessory, but it’s really hiding all of the circuitry for the lights.

Inside the camera a PIR sensor waits until it detects motion, sending a signal through an op-amp to the trigger circuitry. A 74LS14 Schmitt Trigger chip teams up with some resistor-capacitor timer circuits to build a delay chain for the LEDs. This way, after motion is detected the LEDs come on and off in a staggered pattern that doesn’t require a microcontroller and is very pleasing to the eye. See the Analog win for yourself after the break.

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Hackaday Links: Friday the 13th, 2009

Thecoolingcoil1 (Custom)

This wort cooler looks beautiful. No, it’s not for removing warts, it’s part of the brewing process for the nectar of the gods. Even if it wasn’t meant to create alcohol, we would be drawn in by those pretty copper curves.

rc900 (Custom)

We’re not surprised at all to see this remote-controlled bowling ball. We’ve seen remote-controlled spheres several times and this just seems like the logical conclusion. We wish there were some build details though. [via neatorama]

_live_media_site577_2009_1106_20091106_070015_TN00-PanAm-sh11 (Custom)

When [Anthony Toth] an aircraft enthusiast, decided remodel his garage, he shot for the sky. He has recreated the first class cabin of a Pan Am 747 circa the 1970s. It took him nearly 20 years to scavenge the parts and over $50,000 to pull it all together. [via makezine]


This super cheap simple cable tester caught our eye. There’s nothing complicated here, pretty common sense really. Why didn’t we think of it?

ph11 (Custom)

Over the years, Asimo has become a household name. At least in geek households. We’ve seen him go from crazy looking walking microwave prototype, to giant scary space man monster, to the lovable little guy we know now. You can see the full evolution of Asimo in this picture series.


Got an old box camera? Want to use it with modern 35mm film? Here’s a guide to getting it to work. It mainly just involves making a simple mounting bracket.

galaxydress_1 (Custom)

We like LEDs a lot, but this is getting ridiculous. This dress has 24,000 LEDs. They power it with iPod batteries spread throughout the dress. This cuts down on the bulk and helps distribute the weight.

temperature-controlled-mug-pcm (Custom)

Coffee cup technology hasn’t changed much in the last bazillion years. We’re pretty sure cave people carved them from stone, and now they’re made from ceramic which really isn’t that different. Some researchers are changing all that, and designing a coffee cup that is supposed to regulate its temperature in a new way. This mug is manufactured with internal convection channels and is made from a material known for its temperature regulation called PCM. Interesting, but it will probably cost much more than a simple insulated thermos. [via neatorama]