Introducing the SquareWear Mini, with its Chainable Color LED Matrix

[Ray] just tipped us about his latest project: the SquareWear Mini, which basically is an improved version of the SquareWear 2.0 that we featured a month ago. For our readers that may have missed it, the SquareWear is essentially a wearable Arduino platform running at 3.3V and 12MHz. Both versions are based on an ATMega328 microcontroller running the V-USB library to provide USB connectivity, put together with diverse onboard peripherals.

As you can see in the picture above, the Mini includes 2 N-MOSFETs, one temperature sensor, one light sensor, a 16KB EEPROM memory, one buzzer, a one cell LiPo battery connector together with one charging controller, and finally a power switch (USB/battery). It is supposed to be 25% smaller than the SquareWear 2.0 and is optimized to work with a WS2812B-based 5×7 RGB LED matrix that [Ray] also designed. The latter can easily be cascaded in X/Y directions with other LED matrices in order to expand the overall display.

At last, [Ray] created a software to design animations and upload them to the SquareWear . A presentation video of the complete system is embedded after the break and you can download all the design files on GitHub.

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SquareWear 2.0 a Wearable Opensource Arduino


Are you guys tired of redesigned Arduinos yet? Usually we are, but [Ray] just released the SquareWear 2.0, and we have to admit, it’s a pretty slick design.

It’s an update to SquareWear 1.1 which we covered a year ago. That version made use of a 18F14K50 microcontroller, measured a tiny 1.6″ x 1.6″ and could easily be sewn into wearable circuits. But after receiving lots of requests to design a new Arduino based board, [Ray] obliged and made v2.0.

The new SquareWear is slightly bigger, measuring in at 1.7″ x 1.7″, but it packs a much bigger and more functional punch — just check out the image schematic above! The only catch is it doesn’t actually have a USB-to-serial chip on-board, which is why [Ray] was able to get the board so small and inexpensive. Instead it simulates USB in the software using the V-USB library. That method is much slower but still functional. To perform serial communication through the USB port it uses the onboard USBasp bootloader.

The board also features large through-holes to accommodate sew-able pin pads, making it super easy to integrate this into fabric!

For a complete explanation of the SquareWear 2.0, check out the video after the break.

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SquareWear sewable microcontroller board

If you’re into adding electronics to your wearable items this little board will be of interest. The 1.6″x1.6″ board is called SquareWear and comes in several different flavors.

It may be a bit of a surprise that this is not an Arduino compatible board. [Ray] tried a few projects with PIC microcontrollers and ended up really liking them. He chose to go with the PIC 18F14K50 for this project. The chip has USB functionality and is running a bootloader. He thinks this makes it easier to work with over a wide range of computers than the Lilypad (a sewable Arduino compatible board which sometimes runs into FTDI driver issues the first time you try to program it).

We like the fact that it is open source. As we mentioned earlier, it comes in a few different flavors. There is a red or white version that uses a LiPo battery, and one that is driven from a CR2032 coin cell. If you’re working on a small project to which you would like to add a rechargeable battery this will serve as a cheap and easy reference design.

[via Adafruit]