LED Choker Is A Diamond In The Junk Pile

Isn’t it great when you find a use for something that didn’t work out for the project it was supposed to? That’s the story behind the LED strips in this lovely blinkenlights choker by [Ted].

The choker itself is a 15 mm wide leather strap with holes punched in it. According to [Ted], the hole punching sounds like the absolute worst and hardest part to do, because the spacing of the holes must be greater than that of the LEDs to account for flex in the strap. [Ted] tested several distances and found that there is little margin for error.

Controlling those blinkenlights is a Seeed Xiao S3, which fits nicely behind the neck in what looks like a heat shrink tube cocoon. [Ted] chose this because there was one lying around, and it happens to be a good fit with its LiPo charge controller.

The choker runs on four 300 mAh LiPo batteries, which makes for more bulk than [Ted] would like, but again, sometimes it’s about what you have lying around. Even so, the batteries last around two hours.

Sometimes it’s about more than just blinkenlights. Here’s an LED necklace that reports on local air quality.

Increase Your Blinkenlights With This Silicon Wafer Necklace

Necklaces aren’t often very high-tech, mostly because of the abuse they have to go through being worn. This was obviously a problem that needed solving, so [Matt Venn] decided to change that by making a necklace out of ASICs just in time for Supercon.

Although this isn’t the first time [Matt] made such a necklace, he though his previous one was “too hip-hop” and not enough “15 million dollar Nikon Lithography Stepper”. Obviously, this means designing the whole chain, art included, from scratch with the blinkenlights to match. Together with [Pat Deegan] and [Adam Zeloof], the team created a beautiful technopunk necklace with art on every chain link and of course a real silicon wafer with a RISC-V tapeout from 2022 on it.

With [Adam] doing modeling for the chain links, and [Pat] and [Matt] designing the electronics required for the mandatory blinkenlights, and some last-minute soldering and assembling the project was finished just in time for Supercon, where it fit right in with all the other blinkenlights. It even runs on one of the RISC-V cores from the same tapeout as the central wafer!

Breathe Easy With This LED Air Sensor Necklace

When you’re building wearables and glowables, sometimes a flashy rainbow animation is all you need. [Geeky Faye] likes to go a little further, however, and built this impressive necklace that serves to inform on the local air quality. 

The necklace consists of a series of Neopixel LED strips, housed within a tidy 3D printed housing made with flexible filament. A dovetail joint makes putting on and removing the necklace a cinch. A TinyPico V2, based on the ESP32, runs the show, as it’s very small and thus perfect for the wearable application. A USB power bank provides power to the microcontroller and LEDs.

The TinyPico uses its WiFi connection to query a server fed with air quality data from a separate sensor unit. The necklace displays a calm breathing animation as standard in cool tones. However, when air quality deteriorates, it shows warmer and hotter colors in a more pointed and vibrant fashion.

It’s a neat project that shows off [Geeky Faye]’s abilities at both electronics and tasteful wearable fabrication. It’s not always easy to build projects that are both functional and comfortable to wear, but this one works on both counts. Both the 3D files for the necklace and the microcontroller firmware code is included in the GitHub repo for those keen to dive in to the nitty gritty.

We’ve seen some great necklaces over the years, including those that rely on some beautiful PCB art. Video after the break.
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PCB Mill Turns Out Stylish Necklace

When needing a custom PCB, most of us will whip up design files and send them off to a board house. Prices are low and turnaround times are bearable, with quality that’s difficult to replicate at home. The old methods still have some value however, as [Bantam Tools] demonstrate with this attractive glowing hummingbird necklace.

The back side of the pendant neatly hides a button cell battery and a small SMD switch.

The necklace is made of copper-clad board, the type typically used by those who would etch their own PCBs at home. In this case, the board is placed on a [Bantam Tools] mill, which removes copper strategically and cuts out the final shape. This creates a series of traces on the back for a battery, LEDs and a small swtich, while creating areas on the other side of the board for light to shine through.

With a battery installed, the LEDs on the back side of the necklace glow through the fiberglass for a beautiful effect. With a PCB mill and a reflow oven, it’s remarkably easy to make, too. Of course, if you like your parts density a little higher, these FPGA earrings might be more your speed!

The Battery Is Part Of The Art

A work of art is appreciated for its own sake and we will never tire of seeing stunning circuits from microscopic dead-bugs to ornate brass sculptures. We also adore projects that share the tricks to use in our own work. Such is the case with [Jiří Praus] who made some jewelry and shared his templates so we try this out ourselves.

The materials include brass wire, solder, and surface-mount LEDs. Template design expects a 1206 light, so if you step outside that footprint, plan accordingly. The printable templates are intuitive and leverage basic wire jewelry making skills. Some good news is that flashing LEDs are available in that size so you can have an array of blinkenlights that appears random due to drifting circuits. Please be wary with RGB lights or mixing colors because red LEDs generally run at a lower voltage and they will siphon a significant chunk of a coin-cell’s power from a competing green or blue. How else can these be personalized?

[Jiří]’s charms are just the latest of circuits that capture our eyes and tickle our ears.

Beating Life-Force Amulet

It’s one thing to see science-fiction slowly become reality, but quite another to take that process into your own hands. Inspired by a movie prop, [Eric Strebel] decided to build himself a 21st science-fiction artifact: a pulsing, life-force amulet.

At the — aheam — heart of this amulet is a blinking LED circuit which [Strebel] modified into a slow pulse with the help of his friends. To add to the surreal quality of the amulet, he sourced a stone from a local gem show, bringing his circuit along to get an idea of what the final product would look like. Once [Strebel] had shaped the stone to a more manageable size, he took a polyester filler mold of its rear face to use as a base from which to cast a durable resin housing for the circuit.

[Strebel] is using a pair of coin cell batteries which fit snugly behind the glowing LED, and in case he ever needs to get inside the amulet, he’s attached the stone to the rear with sew-on straps — super-gluing them to each piece. He went for a bit of an industrial look for the necklace — a braided oil line with a modified quick-release clasp that works like a charm.

How does this amulet stack up to one from the 23rd century? You be the judge!

“Norman, Coordinate!”

If Star Trek taught us anything, it’s clearly that we’re not quite in the future yet. Case in point: androids are not supposed to be little flecks of printed circuits with wires and jacks sprouting off them. Androids are supposed to be gorgeous fembots in polyester kimonos with beehive hairdos, designed to do our bidding and controlled by flashing, beeping, serial number necklaces.

Not willing to wait till the 23rd century for this glorious day, [Peter Walsh] designed and built his own android amulet prop from the original series episode “I, Mudd.” There’s a clip below if you need a refresher on this particularly notable 1967 episode, but the gist is that the Enterprise crew is kidnapped by advanced yet simple-minded androids that can be defeated by liberal doses of illogic and overacting.

The androids’ amulets indicate when they BSOD by flashing and beeping. [Peter]’s amulet is a faithful reproduction done up in laser-cut acrylic with LEDs and a driver from a headphone. The leads for the amulet go to a small control box with a battery pack and the disappointing kind of Android, and a palmed microswitch allows you to indicate your current state of confusion.

You’ll be sure to be the hit of any con with this one, although how to make smoke come out of your head is left as an exercise for the reader. Or if you’d prefer a more sophisticated wearable from The Next Generation, check out this polished and professional communicator badge. Both the amulet and the communicator were entries in the Hackaday Sci-Fi contest.

Continue reading ““Norman, Coordinate!””