Flexible Arduino Sure to Be A Hit

 

Scrolling LED on soda can

Wearable, lightweight hacks have long been dominated by the Lilypad. This will probably change with the introduction of the Printoo. Using printable circuit technology, the Printoo takes a modular approach to enable hackers, makers, and engineers alike to construct flexible circuits that can be put on almost anything, including paper!

Powered by the all too familiar ATmega328, the Printoo core module is fully compatible with the Ardunio IDE. The modular design enables functionality with several other printed devices including displays, batteries, sensors and even LED strips to make many different projects possible. One of the most interesting modules is the 1.5 volt, 500 micron thick electrochromic display.

Be sure to check out their Kickstarter, which has a nice video that demonstrates the project. If funded, they will be available in October in case you want to get your hands on one. Or feel free to make your own. Just be sure to let us know if you do!

Messenger bag LED matrix keeps bikers safe at night

messenger-bag-led-matrix

Get a little more exposure than one under-saddle bike light can provide by building your own LED enabled messenger bag. It looks like the bag itself was fabricated from scratch by [Andrew Maxwell-Parish] rather than altering an existing bag. He had a few goals for the project, the most interesting of which was to make the electronics removable. His reasoning for this is so he can get the bag past security at the airport.

The design is quite simple, there’s a large flap which is attached at the top of the bag and has a couple of clips at the bottom to keep ti closed. On the inside of the flap he sewed a snap system which holds one piece of material on which all of the electronics are attached. The Lilypad system is used (it looks like the original hardware and not the FLORA upgrade). The main unit is sewn to one side, while the Charlieplex LED matrix was attached in a grid centered on the flap. The lights shine through the orange fabric, keeping them fairly safe from the weather and giving them a reddish hue.

If you’re looking for a few more features check out this GPS enabled messenger bag.

Fashion leads to mind-controlled skirt-lifting contraption

This must be an example of when worlds collide. Who would have thought the geekery of Mindflex and Arduino could make its way into high fashion? But sure enough, this dress transforms based on the mental concentration of the model (must resist urge to crack joke here).

Details are a bit sparse, but you can get a look at the prototype in the video after the break. There’s no nudity; a larger skirt covers a more plain version. That over-skirt is connected to some type of motor system which is driven by an Arduino. When the EEG sensor in the hat detects a certain level of brain wave activity, the outer skirt is lifted and pulled to the back of the outfit, exposing the tighter version beneath.

[Lorenzo] wrote in to share the link to this garment hack. He mentions that a Lilypad and Mindflex are at work here. Looking more into the artist’s website we find this isn’t the only tech-wear produced. There’s a maternity outfit which can sense the baby’s beating heart, and harvest other data about both mother and baby, as well as a few others.

We can’t think this has much future as an everyday outfit, but more utilitarian versions are out there so we think the sky’s the limit on wearable tech.

[Read more...]

FLORA: a better Arduino LilyPad

[Ladyada] has been working on FLORA, her wearable electronics platform, for a few months now. Even though it has just been announced the specs look much better than the previous queen of the hill, the Arduino LilyPad.

Going down the spec sheet for both the FLORA and the LilyPad, we see that FLORA has twice as much flash and SRAM as the LilyPad. The LilyPad has more options for I/O, but [Ladyada]‘s FLORA has the benefit of not using an ISP header for programming; FLORA is completely USB-compatable. FLORA is also about a quarter-inch in diameter smaller than the LilyPad, something to take into account when you’re going for a wearable project.

On top of Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometer, compass and other modules planned for FLORA ( it doesn’t look like they’re available yet, though), FLORA has USB HID support so it can operate as a USB keyboard, mouse, MIDI device, or connect to a cell phone. If you’ve ever wanted a keytar cardigan, this is the board for you.

Check out [Ladyada]‘s video demo of a LED-equipped fabric after the break.

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Head-mounted light display takes holiday cheer on the go

hat-mounted-light-display

Most holiday light displays we see this time of year are stationary, or at least confined to somebody’s home. [Marco Guardigli] wanted to take his lights on the go, and thought that a light up winter hat would be perfect for showing off his holiday spirit.

In the winter he sports a sturdy wool felt hat, which was ideal for mounting LEDs. He picked up a basic LilyPad Arduino that uses a small LiPo battery as its power source, mounting it inside the hat with a bit of glue. He wired up a series of SMD LEDs around the perimeter of the hat which blend in quite well in the felt, leaving them nearly invisible to the naked eye when powered off. When he flips the LilyPad on however, there’s no missing the bright blue LEDs nor the music emanating from the tiny speaker he also mounted in the hat.

We think that [Marco's] display is great, and if we were to build one, we would likely include a copious amount of red and green LEDs in ours. Do any of you take your Christmas light display on the go? We’d love to see them, so be sure to let us know in the comments.

Stick around to see a short video of [Marco’s] hat in action.

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Dead-bug Arduino is still breadboard ready

Here’s a no-PCB Arduino that doesn’t obscure the DIP footprint of the AVR chip. It’s built on an ATmega88 chip, and includes a programming header, reset button, a couple of filtering caps, and an LED. This is modeled after the Lilypad hardware, and fits nicely on top of the plastic case of the microcontroller, allowing it to be used in a breadboard or DIP socket. You can see a walk through of the components in the clip after the break.

We don’t really need most of the components on top of the chip (especially the status LED on the SCK line), but there are several things that we like about this. First off, the programming header is extremely nice. We could see this coming in handy for prototyping where you don’t want to add a header to your final design. Just use a chip socket, and this chip while you’re developing firmware. Once everything is dialed in, program a naked chip and swap the two. The same goes for the reset button, which is nice when working on firmware but may not be necessary in your final design.

This is quite an old project, and we’ve actually seen a successor to it. This is Rev. 2 and we looked in on Rev. 7 back in March. That one is a full Arduino, but the circuit board has no substrate.

[Read more...]

Tweeting bird feeder keeps a picture record of all visitors

wireless_tweeting_bird_feeder

If you weren’t aware, Adafruit Industries is sponsoring the “Make it Tweet” contest over at Instructables, and this Twitter-enabled bird feeder is [quasiben’s] entry into the competition.

His bird feeder not only sends messages to Twitter, it also sends a picture of each bird to Twitpic. The feeder itself is a standard off the shelf model which has been fitted with a LinkSprite camera. A LilyPad Arduino controls the camera, sending images to his computer via a pair of XBee modules. To detect when a bird has stopped by for something to eat, [quasiben] used an infrared LED and an IR detector. The emitter and detector are positioned at opposing sides of the feeder’s opening, triggering the Arduino to snap a picture whenever the beam is broken. Once the image has been transferred to his computer, it is posted to TwitPic.

We’re pretty sure [quasiben] built this Tweeting bird feeder just because he could, but we think it’s a pretty smart idea for people who don’t necessarily have the free time to gaze out the window into their yard. It’s a great way to keep tabs on all your new winged visitors while on the go.

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