Don’t let the above picture’s lack of blinking colors fool you, the light-up dress [Sam] fashioned for his girlfriend is rather eye-catching; we’d just rather talk about it than edit the gifs he’s provided. [Sam’s] been a busy guy. His last project was a Raspberry Pi digital photo frame, which we featured just over a week ago, but wearable hacks allow him to combine his favored hobbies of sewing and electronics.
If you’re looking to get started with wearable electronics, then this project provides a great entry point. The bulk of the build is what you’d expect: some individually-addressable RGB LEDs, the ever-popular FLORA board from Adafruit, and a simple battery holder. [Sam] decided to only use around 40 of the LEDs, but the strips come 60 to a meter, so he simply tucked the extra away inside the dress and set his desired limits in the software, which will allow him to preserve the entire strip for future projects. If you’ve ever attempted a wearable hack, you’re probably familiar with how delicate the connections can be and how easily the slightest bend in the wiring can leave you stranded. Most opt for a conductive thread solution, but [Sam] tried something different and used 30 AWG wire, which was thin enough to be sewn into the fabric. As an added bonus, the 30 AWG wire is insulated, which permits him to run the wires close to (or perhaps over) each other while avoiding shorts. [Sam’s] guide is detailed and approachable, so head over to his project page if you think you’ve caught wearables fever, and check out his GitHub for the source code.
[Wei Chieh Shih] really moves the needle when it comes to wearable technology. His textile design project entitled I Am Very Happy I Hope You Are Too is a striking marriage of masterful hand embroidery, delicate circuitry, and careful programming.
[Wei] is using an Arduino micro to drive a matrix of surface-mount LEDs in the Hello, World video, which is a ramp-up to the scrolling text version that’s
in progress now finished. That full version is part of his residency project at Arquetopia in Oaxaca, Mexico and displays snippets of emails from his past relationships. It’s huge, with multiple matrices as large as 8×25 pixels!
No build notes could be found for this or any of [Wei]’s similar projects, like this awesomely dangerous 200 laser diode jacket or this eerily beautiful light installation on Taiwan’s north beach. Based on the pictures, our speculation is that he is using ordinary 6-strand embroidery floss to make stem or half cross-stitches on all the paths. He then runs very thin, flexible conductor underneath the channel of stitches and solders the wires to the component pads.
If [Wei] wants another way to wear his heart on his sleeve, he could investigate these dynamic LED clothing hacks.
Update: [Wei] has completed this project, and has more information available at his Behance site.
Continue reading “Touching Conversations: Email Snippets Scroll By on Electro-Embroidery Piece”
The youngins in the crowd may not remember Taxi Driver, but [Matt]’s fully functional hidden blade from Assassin’s Creed finally does justice to the hidden weapon on a drawer slide idea. It’s got everything you would want – immaculate craftsmanship and a video game reference for that every so necessary blog cred.
[Matt] started his hidden blade build with a drawer slide, mounting an old WWII replica blade to the slider. The blade retraction is spring-loaded, and with a small ring and a bit of wire, the blade gets its automatic draw and retraction.
The arm brace is where this project really shines. [Matt] crafted this out of two pieces of leather, tooled with the Assassin’s insignia and dyed to a deep, jet black
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an automatic hidden blade from Assassin’s Creed, but [Matt]’s effort is really top-notch. He’s got beautiful leather crafting down pat, and we can only hope his Halloween was filled with parkour and stabbing.
The Thinking Cap is a piece of wearable signage that lets you display what’s on your mind. The hat uses a Teensy 2.0 connected to a Bluetooth radio to allow the wearer to update the message on the fly, letting the room know what their thinking at that instant.
This hack is based off of LPD8806 controlled LED strips, which are becoming very popular for adding lots of LEDs to anything. There are five strips that need to be controlled over SPI, but the Teensy only has one SPI peripheral.
This lead to the use of multiplexer to allow for controlling each strip individually. The hat uses an interesting and low cost scheme to multiplex five channels using two 744052 dual 4 channel multiplexors and a 7400 inverter.
The Teensy can receive messages using the Bluetooth serial port protocol. The 5 x 7 pixel characters are stored in a framebuffer, and shifted around the hat to create the animation.
The result is a bright message circling around the user’s head, which can be updated with a smartphone over Bluetooth. Check out a video demo of the hat after the break.
Continue reading “Thinking Cap is also Party Hat”
The Hoboken hackerspace, MakerBar, recently hosted a very special guest – [Rob Bishop] from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Wanting to impress [Rob], [Zach] and a few others from MakerBar put together a wearable computer based on the Raspberry Pi in just a few hours.
Putting a Raspi, small Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo, and a USB charger equipped with lithium-ion battery wasn’t that hard. The tricky part was finding a wearable display. Luckily, [Zach] had a pair of MyVu Crystal video glasses lying around and after a tricky bit of dissassembly, the folks at MakerBar had a completely wearable computer.
Apart from the RCA cable connecting the Raspi to the glasses, the project is completely wireless; with a small webcam also mounted to the display, the Pi in the Face could easily be a platform for figuring out what to do with Google Glass.
[Zach] said the entire setup could be reconstructed for about $100, a fair price for being turned in to [Locutus] of Borg
Many people with hearing impairments have assistive devices at home that flash a light whenever a fire truck goes by, an alarm bell goes off, or the doorbell rings. With the exception of a hearing dog, these devices are useless outside the home, and this is where [Halley]’s Flutter dress comes into play. Flutter has microphones and microcontrollers sewn into the dress to listen to the surrounding environment and uses small vibration motors to wave small cloth leaflets whenever a loud sound is detected.
In the writeup for Flutter (PDF), [Halley] tells us she used a quartet of microcontrollers to detect the ambient acoustic environment. Each microcontroller passes the signal from the microphone into a buffer where it performs an FFT on the sound data. From this, the loudness and frequency of a noise – as well as the direction from a time-of-flight calculation – can be determined. Once that is complete, each microcontroller actuates a small vibrator motor in the dress’ leafs according to how loud and in which direction the sound came from.
As with all assistive technologies for the hearing impaired, there is always the aspect of deaf culture’s point of view that such inventions are seen as forcing a disability on someone. [Halley]’s Flutter dress was with the input of a few family members who have hearing impairments and got some positive feedback from members of the community. Good job, and we can see why it won Best in Show at the 2012 International Symposium on Wearable Computer’s Design Exhibition.
If you want to capture a 3D model of a physical object, you could use a Kinect, a couple of lasers, constructive light, or even a simple touch sensor mounted on a robotic arm. Those are all expensive devices, and somewhat unnecessary now that you can just throw a blanket over an object and get a 3D model instantaneously.
The project is called IM BLANKY and it’s supposed to reproduce 3D shapes by simply throwing it over an object. The petals in the flower motif are pieces of conductive fabric that serve as contacts for the electrified tassel in the center of each flower. When the blanket is thrown over an object, the tassel is pulled by gravity, makes contact with one of the six conductive petals and sends a tilt switch to a microcontroller.
While we’re not too sure about the resolution IM BLANKY will provide with only 20 tilt sensors, but we imagine this could be used for a few medical applications.