Wearable Technology

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Wearable Technology / eTextiles / soft Circuits projects incorporate electronics and LEDs, EL wire, sensors, etc. into clothing or other flexible fabrics.

NOTE:

For starters we're making some technicolor dream clothes (think blink and bling) for wearing to Burning Man, incorporating LEDs, EL wire, accelerometers and other sensors, and whatever else we can think of.

Project participants have included Liz Baumann, John English, John Maushammer, and Edwin Pennniman.

Completed Projects

  • hats with EL wire, LEDs or LED strips
  • programmable LED strip that can be inserted in vest or on hat
  • 2010 Apogaea and Burning Man Art Project: sound interactive faux-fur flowers
  • the Rainbow Raincoat: RGB LEDs in 10 buttons, changing colors with a LilyPad
  • motion-interactive belly-dancing skirts: coins touching lights up the LEDs
  • Lightning on a dress with EL wire, touching 2 coins completes the circuit enabling the EL wire to flash as lightning does
  • other projects with individual LEDs: 2 elegant dresses, a shirt

Planned Projects

  • explore sensors e.g.: flex sensors, light sensors, etc.
  • costumes for aerial fabric performers and figure skaters
  • more belly-dancing skirts, elegant dresses, also accessories
  • hula hoops with programmable LED strips
  • wrist gauntlets (or other items) with special programmable LED board/strip
  • Apogaea 2011 Art Project(s): while generally not "wearable", there are some of the same elements. See John E and/or Liz - involves LED strips, sound interaction, LEDs, EL wire, fiberoptics, motion/touch interaction.
  • Shazaam! a sleeve with LEDs, where the LEDs light up in succession down your arm in response to the movement of extending your arm (see John M)
  • knitted or crocheted items with LEDs
  • light up that Sombrero!
  • third eye in the back of your head

Related Links

Project Log

Monday, December 5, 2011

Posted by Liz Baumann Updates: Various wearable electronic items have been completed this year, some ideas were put aside while others are new. The sound interactive flowers art project was a hit at both Apogaea and Burning Man.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Posted by Liz Baumann

On Saturday John English, John Maushammer and I met at the space around 3:30 and went to Savers thrift store. John M picked out a couple of shirts to use for his Shazaam idea: a sleeve with LEDs, where the LEDs will light up in succession down his arm in response to the movement of extending his arm. John E bought some boots, scarves and a couple other items. I didn't buy anything for wearable technology today, however I had an idea involving the jacket pictured - it reminded me of the movie The Illusionist where Edward Norton's character grows the orange tree. It would be neat to do something like that with EL wire and/or LEDs.

Outside of thrifting, John E ordered 2 top hats; for one he settled on a design involving blue EL wire in 8 circles. John E and I have also been planning for and ordering other electronics supplies.

The Orange Tree
The ones John didn't buy...
SSD WT 20110205 03.JPG

On a side note, I've pledged to myself to spend time at the space at least one other day per week to work on WT projects. Last week I refreshed my memory a bit on the electronics side and also started developing the program for the diffused RGB LEDs that I plan to attach to the buttons on my black coat. I want the LEDs to change colors slowly, somewhat randomly but with a subtle transition (i.e. the color changes would be gradual and unpredictable). Inspiration for this came from a screen saver in which someone converted time to color - one second of time increments the color by one in RGB hexadecimal. It would be soothing if not for the whirring noise my mac makes when it starts. Hopefully the WT project won't have anything like that to interrupt the hypnotic effect. In other news, I've also been eyeing up something I made a long, long, long time ago - a scarf I knitted with my name on it... can I do this again with my name in EL wire or something like that? Anyway - if anyone has the interest and/or the time to join me on an afternoon during the work week exploring these projects please get in touch with me!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Posted by Liz Baumann

John E., Lindsay and Liz met at the space at 11 am. Mission: go to some thrift stores, find and buy some clothes and accessories suitable for electronic modification, the most likely scenario being adding LEDs or EL wire to them. John had drawn up an idea to put LEDs on a hat in wave patterns. We hoped to find a top hat or something similar, but typically with thrift store or garage sale shopping, you don't find what you set out to look for, but instead you find something else you want. We went to Goodwill and Ares. Good finds:

  • Long coat with faux-snakeskin pattern: should make a great canvas for Burning Man modification.
  • Shiny black coat: Liz has visions of putting LEDs on the buttons somehow... either that or someday doing a Batman Returns catwoman impersonation.
  • Sombrero - we may just hang it on the wall at the space for ambiance, at least for now. But it would probably be a really neat thing to modify - imagine Mariachi bands with their Sombreros blinking in time to their music.
  • Various belts - Lindsay and Liz envision remaking them over with lights.

What we liked but didn't buy, we took photos of - a lot of ideas bubbled up as we perused the goods.

See Flickr for full set of photos from our excursion.

We're thinking of doing this most Saturdays for a while, there are a lot of thrift stores in the area to check out. Anyone else who'd like to join in the fun is welcome!

Liz and John modeling coats
Sombrero sonrisa
Various belts